Does it feel like you're going around in circles, tired of hearing about school violence, but not seeing any real change? If so, you're not alone.
In this episode, you'll learn how to promote school safety through effective advocacy and action, so you can start to make a difference.
You'll be able to:
There's too much that will make you upset to not start taking action. - Caitlin
Caitlin and Jenny are passionate advocates for school safety, bringing their extensive knowledge and experience to the show. With backgrounds in education and a deep understanding of the issues surrounding school violence, they dedicate time and efforts to help parents take practical action steps to promote safer environments for their children.
The resources mentioned in this episode are:
Get detailed information about this episode in this week's show notes, here.
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lot to learn. But even taking on one of those things will help you take action. There's too much that will make you upset to not start taking action. Right.
00:24:51 - Jenny GK But also, learning in itself is an action, and learning for learning, that's doing something absolutely true.
00:25:00 - Caitlin Kindred A fourth thing you can do is advocate for policy change. This is something that you and I typically don't discuss this sort of thing on this show, but if you feel so moved you can do things to make change, one of them, the first one, the most important one, is register to vote if you're not registered. And if you are registered and you're not using that power, you need to start using it. Typically, local elections get ignored. Don't ignore local elections, because those are the ones that really impact you directly and immediately. People pay more attention in nationwide elections or statewide elections, but your local ones matter just as much. If you're upset by what is happening with the school board, go to the local election and make change there. If you're upset with what's happening with your city taxes, you need to vote in your local elections. If you're upset about what's happening in the police realm in your city, you need to vote in local elections. So you need to make sure you're registered to vote, and you need to actually take action when it's time to vote.
00:26:10 - Jenny GK Yeah, you do. But like you said, that's not just connected to safety or school violence concerns. That's in general, knowing what's going on in your neighborhood, right?
00:26:22 - Caitlin Kindred Absolutely. So other policy changes you can advocate for. You can advocate for stopping assault weapon sales. You can advocate for background checks on gun sales. You can advocate for mandatory policies on safe gun storage. One thing that I've recently learned is that you can advocate for extreme risk protection orders. I did not know this was a thing.
00:26:48 - Jenny GK No, I didn't either.
00:26:50 - Caitlin Kindred When someone is an adult, I know this in a different context, right? Like, when someone is an adult, like legally an adult, if you're their parent, you can't do things that might protect them from themselves. Right. So if you know that your child needs mental health support, you can't check them into a facility because they are legally adult and they can take care of themselves. Right. I'm putting air quotes around that. Take care of themselves. Right. But there are things that you can do to try and facilitate additional support in a mental health realm, this is sort of similar to that. So in an extreme risk protection order, what's going on is basically in most instances of gun violence, that the individual who is committing that violence showed signs that they were at risk of hurting themselves or hurting others. A lot of the times after some sort of shooting incident, we'll hear stories from friends and family members about signs that the shooter exhibited. Right? Right. So these red flags, if you know them, you can stop them. Right. So an extreme risk protection order, it's an ERPO empowers family members and law enforcement to prevent gun violence and gun related suicides by petitioning a court to temporarily separate an at risk individual from firearms. This is a civil proceeding. It's not a criminal proceeding. And you're protecting their Second Amendment right while also protecting the people who might be impacted by the person using that firearm. So it is a thing you can do. Again, knowing the signs and then being able to take action on those signs is a big deal. So I didn't know that was a thing. But that is something that you can advocate for, is for states to have ERPOs in place.
00:28:48 - Jenny GK And that goes back to that piece I talked about at the beginning, about offering parental support. It is not easy to recognize these things in your child or in your child's friends. We need to know that it's safe to do that.
00:29:04 - Caitlin Kindred Agree. Another policy change that you can advocate for in your state is Alyssa's Law. Alyssa's Law came out of the parkland shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. It's legislation related to the issue of law enforcement response time when a life threatening emergency occurs. Alyssa Hadif was one of the victims of the Marjorie Stoneman shooting. She could have survived had help gotten to her in time, and it didn't. Her mother started make our school safe. Her name is Lauriel Hadef, and she is a big advocate of these policies that make sure that there's direct communication between educators and law enforcement. So basically, the law calls for installation of silent panic alarms that are directly linked to law enforcement so that when there's an emergency, they are notified immediately. It's a very important thing to be thinking about. And I could go on a whole tangent here, but I'm not going to do that.
00:30:06 - Jenny GK But that seems like also another change that you can make if gun reform is not something you're interested in.
00:30:14 - Caitlin Kindred Exactly. You can advocate for these sorts of programs. It's unfortunate that these are needed, however right. Don't hear what there is technology.
00:30:22 - Jenny GK Right. I did this research because I wanted to be able to know what my opposition would do.
00:30:28 - Caitlin Kindred Right.
00:30:29 - Jenny GK Because I, as a teacher, am in favor of changing the story.
00:30:37 - Caitlin Kindred Right.
00:30:38 - Jenny GK And I understand that that's going to require legislation.
00:30:42 - Caitlin Kindred Right. I do have information about particular technology that can be very helpful here. If you would like to know that information, please do send me a message and I will send you a link of something that I think is very powerful that you can use. I would also say another thing that you can advocate for is actual policy change in your school district. Again, local elections matter, but this is when if you are a parent with a loud voice, this will help learn what the safety policies are in place in your district and in your school. Ask those questions. Right. And when you learn what they are, if you happen to see some sort of interaction where they are not used, you need to question them. Here's what I mean. If you know your school, your child's school has a system in place where you are supposed to sign in and then sign out when you go into the school and when you leave. If you are allowed to leave or allowed to enter without signing in or out, you need to say, is there a reason that I wasn't made to do X-Y-Z? Right. You need to make sure that you question it. Because there are several parents I've interacted with who get upset when they have to go into a building and sign their child out. Those safety policies are in place for a reason. By violating them. There's a loophole there that can be taken advantage of, and you need to question it. You need to make sure you are following all the school. Safety policies, and when they are not used in front of you, you need to speak up.
00:32:20 - Jenny GK Right. To me also, that means that you.
00:32:24 - Caitlin Kindred Need to adhere to these policies 100%.
00:32:28 - Jenny GK So if your school has a locking front door, don't hold it open for someone else.
00:32:34 - Caitlin Kindred No, because not only do you need.
00:32:37 - Jenny GK To question when they're not being used properly, you need to adhere to them and not fight with them. The reason that those policies exist is because that is the school's attempt at keeping children safe.
00:32:51 - Caitlin Kindred The other thing that you can do within your school district, alyssa's Law, is coming for many, many states. The make our school safe organization is advocating for this to be a nationwide policy. It's already in effect in Florida, in New York, and it's coming in Texas. It's like on the docket. So you can ask, what are the policies that you have that will put you in compliance with Alyssa's Law at the district level? And they should know what you're talking about. It's another way to just within your school district, ask those questions. Okay. A fifth thing you can do to take action is contribute to organizations doing the work. Now, not everyone has time to do these things that we've listed so far. Right?
00:33:35 - Jenny GK Right.
00:33:36 - Caitlin Kindred But some people who are lacking in time are not lacking in cash, and I understand that you might be lacking in both. Completely get that. I have been there and I am still there, so I get it. That said, they will use every nickel and dime that you send. So I've got a bunch of organizations again, I've already mentioned them once, but I'm going to say them again here. Every Town, protect Our Schools, sandy Hook Promise, make Our Schools Safe and March for Our Lives are all excellent organizations that are actually doing the work. With these advocacy changes that we've talked about so far. There are other ways to give that don't involve cash. Many of them have hashtags or volunteer opportunities and other meaningful ways to contribute that are listed on their websites. Again, you can find those in the show description for today. And the last thing that you can do and this is one that I didn't see in a lot of places, but I did find it in one resource as I was researching for this. Don't stop talking about it.
00:34:35 - Jenny GK Right.
00:34:35 - Caitlin Kindred I know it's sad and it's depressing and nobody wants to think about these things, but the reason that we are so numb to it is because it keeps happening and we stop talking about it. And yes, it becomes a hot topic immediately after a school shooting or after some other mass killing. There's that concert in Vegas. It becomes a huge deal in those situations. I understand that. But then a few days later, people have moved on.
00:35:09 - Jenny GK Right. That's kind of where my comments about the tweeting came from. Right? Like hashtag, whoever strong. Yeah. It's cool. But you tweet that out once the next day, and then you don't talk about it again. This needs to be something that's front of mind.
00:35:27 - Caitlin Kindred That's where if you are going to tweet about it and you are going to use hashtags, that's where you can keep the conversation going. Right. Keep tweeting about it.
00:35:36 - Jenny GK Don't just do it once, exactly one.
00:35:39 - Caitlin Kindred Time, you changing the color of your profile. Right. Include a link to an advocacy route or include a link to a fund. Do something like that. And don't stop talking about it, because this is going to be my final thought on this. But it's important that we continue to fight for this, not just in the immediate right after this sort of thing happens, but just keep going. We can make changes if we just keep pushing it. Your legislators, they have to listen to you. They have to, because if they don't, you don't vote for them. That's how that works. So it's the only way that we're going to see any real change, any real progress, is if you continue to make your voices heard. And you need to be louder than the people who don't seem to have empathy for these sorts of situations and for the people who are left trying to pick up the pieces of their lives after this kind of thing happens. You need to be louder than them. Those are my six things. I'm going to recap them real quick here. So the first thing that you can do to advocate or to make change, to take action after this, is contact your local legislators. You can help the victims and their families financially. You can learn more about gun violence. You can advocate for policy changes. You can contribute to organizations doing the work. And please don't stop talking about it. So my call to action for this episode is going to be check out one of the links in the show description and see if there's something that you can do right now.
00:37:18 - Jenny GK Right. And don't let politics get in the way of keeping our schools safe.
00:37:24 - Caitlin Kindred Absolutely true.
00:37:26 - Jenny GK It doesn't matter where you land on the political spectrum. Everyone is in favor of children coming home at the end of the day.
00:37:32 - Caitlin Kindred Every single person wants that. Okay, make good choices and let's work together to make schools a safe place. Bye.