School violence has always been a fear for parents and children, but for generations it was centered around bullying or rough-housing. A schoolyard fight wasn't something to look forward to, but a child coming home with a black eye was better than a child not coming home at all.
When Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School almost 20 years ago, they changed all that. They gunned down 15 of their classmates and injured even more, but in doing so they brought mass school shootings into the mainstream.
Yes, there had been school shootings before, many involving multiple victims, but Columbine just felt different - and our country has also felt different ever since.
Year after year we read about more school shootings, more massacres. Schools and students have struggled to adapt. Procedures are in place to help protect children, lock-downs keep them in their classes when a gunman is stalking the grounds, sometimes armed personnel are on premises to help deal with the unthinkable. There's even talk of arming teachers, like going to school is a dangerous activity that needs a guard.
All of this plays out while our children go to school in what is increasingly becoming an environment of terror.
One mother recently discovered just how much fear her daughter was dealing with, when an unstable man phoned in a bomb threat to her children's school.
"So my kids school had a genuine lockdown today. Some whack job called in a bomb threat. Police came and everything was fine, Thank God," Shelley Harrison Reed posted to Facebook.
"My guys seemed fine when they got home and they talked about it with me and told me their versions of what happened and then went right into their homework and normal after school stuff, all seemed fine.
"It wasn't until later, when Vanessa was changing out of her school uniform that I saw this on her arm," she wrote, referring to the picture she posted.
"I say to her, 'why did you write that on your arm?' she says 'in case the bad guy got to us and I got killed, you and daddy would know that I love you.'"
On her arm the 7-year-old girl had written "I love mom and dad" using her coloring markers.
"She started to cry (as did I as I watched a little piece of her innocence get stolen away,)" continued Reed. "To know that my 7yo was put in a position to think that thought is absolutely gut wrenching and it's killing me inside.
"I'm just thinking a lot of my mom friends who also went through this today are probably feeling the same way," Reed finished.
She couldn't have known how right she was. The Facebook post has been shared over 100,000 times and has reached parents around the world. Concern over a child's safety is a universal trait of parents and Reed's post has hit a nerve.
There have been thousands of comments from parents echoing Reed's thoughts. The new dangers of school are hard to deal with and hard to watch our children attempt it. No one has the answer right now, all we can do is love our children as hard as we can, for as long as we can.