‘I think what if today is the day,’ mother fears of an active shooter amid the first day of school for her son

Local News

For one Baton Rouge family the start of a new school year brings fear and anxiety after seeing last year’s gun violence on some campuses.

“It’s gut-wrenching to have to think about this. It really is,” Ericka Poole said.

That fear has prompted some retailers to offer a level of protection in a common back to school item.

“I think every day I think about it. I think what if today is the day,” Poole said.

What Poole is referring to is an understandably pervasive fear.

“I think about it all the time and I make sure to give them big kisses and love before I leave.  I hate to even say i do that but I do,” Poole said.  

The fear of an active shooter at her children’s school.

“It’s not that I don’t trust the school. It’s what outside of the school or what could come into the school. That’s what scares me,” she said.

Stores like Office Depot are selling bullet proof backpacks in hopes of preventing any future tragedies.

Poole was a former elementary school teacher and says she thinks the backpacks are a good idea.

“We cannot stand by and do nothing. We have to do something and protect our kids,” Poole said. 

She says a conversation about gun violence would come before the purchase of one of these backpacks.

“I haven’t had it yet because I’m scared. The fact that I even have to have it because i’ll have to hear ‘mommy why would someone want to hurt me’ and there’s no answer for that,” Poole said. 

Baton Rouge psychologist Erich Duchmann says there isn’t a right time to bring up the conversation.

“It somewhat depends on your child and their maturity level. Five, six, seven, eight I think is definitely old enough to understand these kind of events and what they can mean,” he said. 

He says it’s important for parents to explain that it’s not very likely to happen to their kids.

He went on to say if they don’t bring it up it may not be necessary.

“If it’s not really on their radar I don’t think that conversation necessarily has to happen. You can easily at that age get them to worry more about it.”

Poole has not bought the bulletproof backpack for her young sons, but says as they get older, she just might.

We looked at the prices of many bullet proof and bullet resistant backpacks from Office Depot and they rang in prices from $119 to $199. 

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