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  • Writer's pictureDiane Rose-Solomon

Standing Strong With Students

Today is March 14th, 2018, one month after the Parkland Florida shooting that took the lives

Therapy dogs at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Therapy dogs at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ready to comfort students

of 17 people. It is also the day that students around the nation are participating in a walkout supporting the grieving students who directly experienced the tragedy and also to come together to have their enraged and scared voices collectively heard.

I have two teenagers who attend different high schools in Los Angeles and both schools are extremely supportive of the walkout. In speaking with my kids about it, I learned how much fear our kids live in. My son is afraid that when they walk out, there will be a shooter poised at the gate waiting for them. His school has a police officer at the gate now…in addition to private security.

Therapy dogs comforting students
Therapy dogs comforting students during the walkout

And my daughter told me that there was a false fire alarm yesterday but no one wanted to go because they were afraid they would be sitting ducks. In fact, I received an email this morning that parents in her school want to form a human chain around the perimeter of her school during the walkout.

As our nation sorts out this string of tragedies we face a few issues: Two that come to mind are, how to temper gun use, and how to identify and help the people who are feeling so disenfranchised from society that they feel this is their only recourse.

Most importantly we are reminded that the people directly involved in the shootings, the witnesses, the survivors, family members and friends are grieving. I honor you all.

I like to quote Fred Rogers AKA “Mr. Rogers” during these senseless tragedies. “You will always find people who are helping… I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

I also want to honor the helpers. There are so many to recognize but there are a few groups

Love Button movement event
Love Button movement event

I’d like to highlight. The first is the animal therapy groups who had dogs at the ready for the students first day back at school. Humane Society Broward County’s Animal Assisted Therapy Team and Lutheran Church Charities were there to help the students. If you check out their social media you can see how helpful it was. Above are a couple of photos (including one from the walkout today). I am inspire

And there’s another group that you may have seen before. They are the Love Button Global Movement organization. Perhaps you have a Love button? Or you’ve seen Chris Martin of Coldplay wearing one and spreading the love at one of his concerts (or at the Superbowl in 2016)?

Chris Martin of Coldplay visiting with students
Chris Martin of Coldplay visiting with students

The Love Button Global Movement was in Parkland on February 28th at a Community Healing Gathering which was an event open to the public to support healing, offer comfort and to spread love. The feedback was that the attendees felt held and supported and heard and it was a healing experience. I am inspired.

To everyone in Parkland and everywhere else where these tragedies have changed you forever, please know you and your loved ones are in our hearts. And to all of the students and everyone supporting them as they take a stand today, I acknowledge your courage and determination in making your voices heard and making a difference. I am inspired.

This article originally published on Diane’s blog here:

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