Many were shocked when Kayla Rolland, a first-grader, was shot and killed by a 6-year-old classmate in her Flint, Mich., schoolroom.
But many ELCA educators know that young children are very aware of guns. Schools encouraged children to talk about the issue last fall during the "Day of National Concern about Young People and Gun Violence."
"The rather scary thing was that these 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds were very articulate about guns," said Sharon Koplinski of Little Blessings Preschool, Alleluia! Lutheran Church, Naperville, Ill.
Some comments teachers heard:
* "My dad has a gun and he shows me how to hold it."
* "My mom carries a gun, but I would never touch it."
But Koplinski sees some hope: "There were many openings to ask the children what they thought Jesus would want for them. And it was good to hear them give a right answer in view of their curiosity and parade of terminology [about guns]."
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers