by: Natasha Chen Updated:SEATTLE —
Washington CeaseFire, an advocacy group trying to reduce gun violence, invited children to participate in their 22nd annual day of remembrance. This year they focused on the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
While many parents have not shared details of that event with their young children, many elementary school students who attended said they wanted to see a safer world.
Kate Sipe, a Green Lake Elementary School teacher, said she had to learn a lockdown drill when she first became a teacher, something she never had to practice as a child in school.
"I had my first lockdown experience in 2002 in a school in Everett: Madison Elementary School. The kids knew exactly what to do even though it was only my second day in that classroom. I was still fumbling for my keys, and I was still trying to figure out how to pull the shades and the kids knew how to do everything, which told me that we were living in a society where that was a necessity for kids," Sipe said.
Indeed, Tallulah Assaf, a second grader, told KIRO 7 the lockdown drill is "when the principal announces that there's a bad guy in our building and we go hide in a dark room."
Lucia Derosier, a third grader from Kimball Elementary School, donated money to Washington CeaseFire.
"I have four jars - a save, a spend, a college and a share. And I gave all the money I collected this year in the share jar," Derosier said.
Her wish: "My hope for the future is that no one will use guns anymore."
Washington CeaseFire's board president, Ralph Fascitelli, said that the group is not trying to take away people's right to own guns.
"We're trying to get common sense measures: background checks, limiting access to guns by juveniles, limiting magazine clips, banning assault weapons," he said.
While a petition circulated to demand criminal background checks, children and their parents planted 300 daffodils at Green Lake Park to honor victims who have died from gun violence.
Even with this event to raise awareness, Sipe said, "For 31 school shootings to have happened since the beginning of my career - and I still don't feel like I've been in my career long enough to say that - it makes me feel like we're not responding fast enough."
Sipe's advice to the community includes following school rules in ensuring students' safety, knowing your community by talking to other parents and school staff, and taking action by calling elected officials.