A mom in Michigan has penned a passionate plea for gun control after catching her 3-year-old practicing a lockdown drill she learned at preschool.
Stacey Feeley told BuzzFeed News this is her daughter's first year in preschool in Traverse City. She declined to name the school, but said it is "amazing."
Last week, Feeley caught her daughter in their bathroom, standing on a toilet. She took a picture because she thought her girl was being silly, but then her daughter told her why she was standing up there.
"The moment she told me what she was doing I broke down," she said. "She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom."
Feeley said she was horrified that her child was already learning how to respond to an active shooter situation.
"At that moment all innocence of what I thought my 3-year-old possessed was gone," she said.
In an impassioned post on Facebook, Feeley wrote that she felt something had to change:
Politicians - take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door
Feeley argued that the photo should inspire people to support gun control measures so that kids don't grow up learning to be afraid at school.
"No one thinks gun control will be 100% crime control," she wrote. "But maybe, just maybe, it helps 1% or 2% or 50%? Who knows unless we try?"
Her post has since been shared thousands of times. Some people agreed with her, saying they couldn't believe such young children are being taught how to respond to a shooting.
Although some people said she had the completely wrong response to the situation.
Feeley told BuzzFeed News she decided to share the photo because she wanted her social network to know "what things had come to."
"I wanted them to know what it means for our kids growing up today," she said. "I knew the effect the picture had on me, but had no idea the impact it would have on others."
She said she is amazed by the large response to the photo.
"We all have voices, we just have to use them," she said. "If one picture can be used to wake people up, and if that’s a small fraction of what I can do to make a difference, then I will continue to speak out and share."
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Stephanie McNeal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.