Family

The heartbreaking reason this seven-year-old needs a door stopper

Imagine sending your child to school knowing they might die.

By: Rebel Wylie

As children in America return to school for the fall, social media is full of joyous tales of parent survival over the summer. Actress Jennifer Garner shared a hilarious home-made meme summing up how most parents feel at the end of a long school holiday, while others proudly showed their children getting ready embark on a new year of education.

However a post from blogger, Mike Julianele aka 'Dad and Buried', shows a different tale of survival as his seven-year-old son gets ready to start life as a third-grader.

Julianele's is the kind of survival tale that sets a stone in the stomach of any parent imagining a situation where their child might need to try to protect themselves from an active shooter in their school grounds.

Alongside an image of a hardware packet of door stoppers Julianelle explains that his wife had picked them up to give their son for his first day of school. He writes, "She hasn't yet, because giving them to him requires a conversation with a 7yo about guns and school shootings and death."

In a follow-up blog post he explains a little further, explaining that his wife had picked up the packet of door stoppers and why she thought she needed to.

"The door stoppers aren't for us. They're for our brand-new third grader," he writes.

"She picked them up a few days after the events in Parkland, in which a gunman brought an AR-15 to a high school and opened fire, murdering 17 students and teachers. She picked them up because she'd read that parents across the country were putting them in their kids' backpacks, just in case."

Julianelle's wife had seen a post that went viral after the Parkland School shooting, when Katie Corneli, an aunty from Connecticut shared an idea she had for her nieces after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. She began sending both of her nieces to school with door stoppers in their back packs.

"Sure it's small, but it can be powerful in keeping you safe if you ever have to barricade yourself in a room," wrote Cornelis in a post now read by millions. "If a gunman shoots out the door lock it will still keep the door from opening and may just buy you some time."

It might seem far-fetched, but according to the Everytown for Gun Safety website which tracking incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2013 there have been there have been at least 57 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in America 2018.

Julianelle is quick to point out the absurdity of expecting children to protect themselves with a doorstop, "… most doors INTO the classrooms open outward and thus would not benefit from the door stopper," he writes.

With gun reform such a divisive topic in America, it looks – for now – at least to be one way to bring peace of mind to worried parents. Except it doesn't. Not really.

Julianelle explains that having to talk to your child about school shootings brings a whole other set of problems. He writes, "Giving door stoppers to a seven-year-old requires telling that seven-year-old why he needs them, what they're for, and when to use them. It requires having a heartbreaking conversation with a little boy – a little boy who had nightmares after our empty car, blocks away, was broken into while he was sleeping – about school shootings, and guns, and killers, and death."

So for now, his little boy's mother keep the door stoppers to herself.

"She doesn't want to give my son the door stoppers, but she's terrified about what will happen if she doesn't and the day comes when he actually needs them."