I think all of us who live in the rural community in Southern Maryland, St. Mary’s County to be exact, thought this would NEVER happen to us.

A parent’s worst nightmare hearing on the news that there’s been a shooting at a local high school or even worse, receiving a text message from your child that they are frightened or panicking.

Today this horrific event has happened to us, to me, and our community will never be the same.

Our thoughts that we were insulated from the school shootings that have happened all over our country throughout the past years … oh, it’ll never happen to us, we said. We were wrong.

Sadly, it’s right on the heels of our high schools participating in a walk-out to protest school violence, just last week. Even worse, our small community has had rumors of threats in recent weeks that we were told were not serious but apparently this was a warning of things to come. Our children come to school to learn and grow as human beings and we send them believing that they are safe and protected! There are a lot of conversations happening all over the country recently to figure out how to deal with these issues. What’s the right solution? Armed guards? Metal detectors? I don’t know what the right response is … as a mental health provider, I do believe we’re not doing the best job at protecting our children and helping them through their struggles. I feel strongly that we should start there and begin taking a more proactive step to prevent these tragedies from happening, not just responding to them. Prevention is where it’s at!

If you have children or know children, it’s time for us as parents & adults to begin paying more attention to how our children are acting. I’ve always believed that when kids can’t TELL us how they feel, they SHOW us through their behaviors.

We need to care for ALL the children in our communities, not just our own.

Enough of being separated and disconnected from our neighbors and our community members. Enough of pretending this will never happen to us. The more we can come together no matter our backgrounds, our race, our religion, the more protected our children will be and the less pulled apart by tragedies like this.

I’m heartbroken. I’m worried sick about my friends and our clients who attend Great Mills High School and I’m devastated for the rippling impact this will have not only on my own high schooler, but also his friends and everyone who lives in our community.

I’m tired! I’m tired of having this conversation over and over and I know most of you are too.

Please, I’m begging you to get more involved in solutions that are pro-active and less reactive!

Let’s come together in our community and figure this shit out.

Our practice is committed to doing what we can to help us heal from this current tragedy and more importantly, to help prevent this from happening again. Let us know below what you think the solution is and how we at Empowered Connections can do to help. #weareinthistogether #nomore