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Mom Goes Along With Daughter Trying To Have Horse Class Pet, Girl Stops Due To Potential Shooters
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Mom Is Shocked When Girl Doesn’t Want To Take Pet To School Due To Fear Of A School Shooting

Interview With Expert
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The pure innocence that most children possess is truly beautiful. However, the world is not always the beautiful place we’d like it to be, and, unfortunately, that innocence almost always gets tainted.

For instance, one TikToker recently shared about a conversation that she had with her daughter, which started very wholesomely but ended with contemplations about the gun violence issues in the USA and the horrors that they sometimes bring, even to schools. Scroll down for the full story!

More info: TikTok

Gun violence in the USA is at the point where children consider going through it at school a genuine possibility, and the thought of it is terrifying

Image credits: afmuscato

“Yesterday, I picked my eight-year-old daughter up from school”

“And before she was even fully in the car, she goes, ‘Mom, guess what? My teacher said that if you say yes, and the principal says yes, then Salsa can be our class pet.’ If you’re new here, Salsa is a 1000-pound American Quarter Horse. So not the most practical choice for a class.”

“Of course, the immediate question that follows is, ‘So, is it okay with you?’And in this moment, I really appreciate that the teacher passed the buck to both me and the principal because I know the principal has not yet been asked. So I can continue that trend. And so I say, ‘Of course! If your principal says it’s okay, of course, she can be a class pet.'”

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Image credits: afmuscato

“That was the right answer”

I was told that I am the best mom ever, and she immediately starts trying to make a plan for how she is going to convince her principal that this is a good idea. And so she says, ‘You know, I’ve bet a lot of other kids would like that, too. I should get a lot of other kids to ask her if Salsa can be the class pet. And instead, we make her like a school pet.'”

“I’m willing to pass the buck on this one to the principal, but I really like her principal. And so an attempt to help her out. I was like, ‘You know, kiddo, when a lot of people want something, you don’t typically all have them individually go to someone you write like one letter and then have them all sign it. And that’s called a petition.'” 

“This was the greatest idea she’s ever heard of. So she immediately starts writing a letter that she is going to get all the kids in her school to sign advocating for her horse becoming the school pet.”

Image credits: Andrea Piacquadio (not the actual photo)

“When I say organizing, what I need you to understand about Ella Jo is that she has been no joke making to-do lists, and she was three years old”

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So she is in second grade, but she reads and writes at a fifth-grade level. So she was very literally, by the time we got home, writing a letter, drafting a letter, to get everyone to sign and then also had separate sheets of paper where she was making lists of all of her friends from after school in every grade, and what class they were in, so she could go to them and then have them take little short versions of the letter back to their classes and have everyone in their classes sign it so that she could literally reach every kid at the school.”

Image credits: afmuscato

“So I pointed out, too, ‘You’re gonna have to figure out the logistics of how this works'”

“‘You can’t just ask for something and not be able to explain how it’s going to work to people.’ So she start[ed] coming up with a sort of stall they could put outside her classroom, and if you made it movable, then it could move around the school and [where] Salsa [would] go during recess. A big part of this plan involves me hauling the horse back and forth at the beginning and end of every week. And I’m just, again, I’m just letting this plan roll at this point. Because this is the principal’s problem. This is no longer my issue.”

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“By the time bedtime rolls around, this is a full-blown plan, and I’m forcing the kid to go to bed, and part of me is incredibly proud of the natural community organization that’s happening here, though I feel like that might backfire at some point for me as a parent. You want your kids to know how to organize, but maybe after they move out of your house.”

“But anyway, I’m also mildly concerned that some part of this is going to work, and the principal is going to be like, ‘Yeah, you can bring the horse for a day,’ and I’m gonna end up having to haul this friggin horse to school, but whatever. So I get her to go to bed. So we have succeeded for the day, for the moment. I’m still the greatest mom ever.”

Image credits: Dids . (not the actual photo)

“But then this morning, she gets up and walks out of her room and says, ‘Mom, I’ve been thinking about it'”

“‘And I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring Salsa to school as a class or school pet.’ And I said, ‘No? Why? What changed your mind?’ She said, ‘Well, I was thinking about it, and you can’t hide a horse in a closet, so I’ll have no way to keep her safe in an active shooter situation, and I don’t want her to die. So I think she probably needs to just stay at home.’ And then she went and put on her shoes and got her breakfast bar, and I just…”

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Image credits: Feliphe Schiarolli (not the actual photo)

The woman in the video, going under the TikTok username @afmuscato, is Annie Muscato. She is a mother, co-parent, DIY farmer, leadership educator, and content creator with nearly 130,000 followers and over 5.2 million likes throughout her videos. Her content usually consists of light-hearted things from her everyday life, but one of her most recent viral videos, with more than 7.2 million views, was a little different from the others.

In the beginning, it started just as wholesomely as most of her other stories, with her daughter asking to bring her horse to become the class’s pet and developing a plan on how to achieve it. However, in the end, the girl decided to keep her friend at home, explaining that she couldn’t hide it if there ever were any active shooters in school, and the mom and the internet were left stunned.

Caught off guard by the story’s twist, many of the commenters felt just as heartbroken as the girl’s mother. People who live in the USA or other countries with similar gun laws were sadly relating and discussing this issue, sharing other similar stories, while those who don’t could only express their shock and empathy.

Check out the full TikTok video below:

@afmuscatoI dont have words or hashtags for this one♬ original sound – Annie Muscato

The gun violence issue in the past few years has risen to historical highs. While, according to Klara Alfonseca of ABC News, last year saw a slight decrease, there were still more than 40,000 people whose lives were taken and many more who were injured due to firearm-related incidents. The saddest part is that nearly 2000 of all those who lost their lives to gun violence were children and teens.

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To get a professional perspective on this issue, Bored Panda reached out to Dr. Maura Francis, a children’s, adolescent, and adult psychologist who was glad to share her expertise with us and shed some more light on this heavy topic. 

When asked about what kind of effect constantly hearing about situations involving active shooters in public places has on kids, Dr. Francis began by saying that everyone processes emotions differently, so the experiences can vary. “Being constantly exposed to these high-stressful events can have long-term consequences on an individual’s mental health.”

The expert continued by saying that while resilience may be a positive quality, we need to be careful about how much we praise kids for it, as it is easy to cause more harm than good that way. “Being taught that one is resilient may have negative effects in the future, such as invalidation of emotions, lack of boundaries, or struggling to have an assertive voice or action.” 

“Active shootings shouldn’t be normalized, regardless of the frequency that it happens, and kids shouldn’t be praised for seemingly getting through traumatic situations where adults who collectively make important decisions for our nation failed to keep them safe,” emphasized the psychologist, adding that children should instead be praised for speaking out about their experiences and feelings associated to these situations. 

Image credits: Jan Bouken (not the actual photo)

According to the expert, having a calm outlook when thinking about such horrors, as the girl in the story did, does have some positivity to it since these situations can be used to open up bigger conversations with children. “It’s the perfect opportunity to explore their thoughts and feelings, which can lead to developing adaptive and productive coping strategies.”

However, on the other hand, being used to these situations can prevent children from processing their reactions and emotions related to these events, leading to prolonged, long-term stress. “This could also potentially lead to non-adaptive thinking patterns, such as ‘It’ll never happen to me’ if far removed from the situation.”

But if hearing about it all the time seems bad, it still doesn’t compare to what children who have actually experienced it go through. “Kids who have experienced an active shooting either by firsthand or close hand experience will have challenges that will affect them short and/or long-term,” explained Dr. Francis, saying that events like these unavoidably change a person’s understanding of safety in public and people around them.

When it comes to helping these kids heal, the expert recommended accepting their emotions and leaving expectations for a specific healing timeline at the door. “It’s important to let these children know that we are always on their side and want to help them process these experiences in a safe, healthy, and effective manner.” 

So, in the end, to call this issue severe is an understatement. School shootings have always been horrifying, but now we’re at the point where some children in the USA, like the girl in the story, talk about them so casually that they start to seem like a completely normal part of life. None of us want to live in a world where that is OK. So, when will it finally change?

What did you think about this story? What’s your stance on the gun laws in the USA? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The commenters were shocked by the sudden twist, which made the story go from wholesome and funny to sad and thought-provoking

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blue1steven avatar
Donkey boi
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Look, I'm old enough to remember Dunblane, and I still find it absolutely surreal that kids in the U.S can talk about that kind of thing such a 'matter of fact' way. I really worry that they now treat those kinds of incidents as normal. It's not f*****g normal! Kids should not even have to think about that kind of shite! You need to sort you s**t out, America.

ivyateve avatar
Ivy at Eve
Community Member
1 week ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I remember that too, it was a sad sad day (not UK resident but European)... why a civilized (using the term lightly) state would choose a supposed freedom over the safety of kids.... as an Australian once replied "I'm happy my kids don't know thebterm active shooter" (in a gun control debate). Dunblane should not have happen but since it did, happy it is the exception.

Load More Replies...
layla-bakerthomas avatar
Petunia Petal
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I live in the UK and I have young school aged children. This kind of thing doesn't even cross my mind as part of everyday life. It is absolutely heartbreaking all children in the US have to consider this as part of their lives. It's a truly broken system.

mathildesnijders avatar
Sage(formerly Impasta)
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I live in the US. It is genuinely terrifying to go to school here. Everything we have a lock down drill I have a small heart attack. If I could move away, I would.

Load More Comments
blue1steven avatar
Donkey boi
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Look, I'm old enough to remember Dunblane, and I still find it absolutely surreal that kids in the U.S can talk about that kind of thing such a 'matter of fact' way. I really worry that they now treat those kinds of incidents as normal. It's not f*****g normal! Kids should not even have to think about that kind of shite! You need to sort you s**t out, America.

ivyateve avatar
Ivy at Eve
Community Member
1 week ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I remember that too, it was a sad sad day (not UK resident but European)... why a civilized (using the term lightly) state would choose a supposed freedom over the safety of kids.... as an Australian once replied "I'm happy my kids don't know thebterm active shooter" (in a gun control debate). Dunblane should not have happen but since it did, happy it is the exception.

Load More Replies...
layla-bakerthomas avatar
Petunia Petal
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I live in the UK and I have young school aged children. This kind of thing doesn't even cross my mind as part of everyday life. It is absolutely heartbreaking all children in the US have to consider this as part of their lives. It's a truly broken system.

mathildesnijders avatar
Sage(formerly Impasta)
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I live in the US. It is genuinely terrifying to go to school here. Everything we have a lock down drill I have a small heart attack. If I could move away, I would.

Load More Comments
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