Every year, there are about 300 incidents in which a child gains access to a firearm and it discharges unintentionally. Death by suicide with a gun takes the lives of nearly 500 of our children each year. Those who attempt suicide but survive have reported that they try to take their own lives within 10 minutes of thinking about it and opt for the easiest way to complete the act. That usually means using a gun if one is available.  

As a mother and educator, I find these numbers terrifying. Especially when they hit so close to home.  

After the lockdown at Hylton High School last week, I reached out to Moms Demand Action to learn more about their BeSMART gun safety program and partnered with them to give a presentation in my home.  

The presentation was short and impactful.It reinforced the responsibility of safe firearm ownership by adults by educating us on how to properly store unloaded guns and ammunition. It was a way to have a frank and educational conversation about guns without all of the tension and partisanship that usually invade any dialogue surrounding the topic. It was helpful for all of us.  

Having these living room conversations can help spread the word about making sure we are keeping our kids safe, and we can bring these conversations to our schools.  

Offering spaces for Moms Demand Action at our back-to-school nights, spirit nights and other events could also help make sure that adults are getting the message about safety.  

We have so many resources geared for student safety available to us in our community. Prince William County schools can partner with our police department, sheriff’s department, the Department of Justice and the National Alliance of Mental Illness to offer programs to parents and educators on a variety of issues that affect our children. 

 

Lisa Zargarpur 

Candidate for Prince William County School Board 

Coles District 

 

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(1) comment

Rickdumfries

I disagree with many points of your posting. While I agree with the importance of educating everyone on gun safety as one component of Moms Demand Action offers, they are not the ones to provide it. Nor should they be present on school property or functions. First, law enforcement officers or trained educators should be teaching this from a nonpolitical perspective. It can be, and should be, added to the PE/Health curriculum. No bias, just simple, direct facts about gun safety - what to do if a child sees or finds an unsecured gun, how to practice gun safety if or when they handle them among biggest topics. Second, when educators are cautioned about gun safety discussions out of fear of political bias, how can we allow groups associated with gun control to be present at school functions? If they can have a booth or table to offer "gun education," can the NRA or VCDL also be present to inform public of approved gun education programs (not opinions) they provide? Accidental shootings, like the discharge of the illegally possessed and carried gun at Hylton HS, might have been prevented had the person been trained to keep finger of trigger, a gun isn't a toy, and not to carry it illegally.

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