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A Message for Uvalde

By June 6, 2022June 7th, 2022General
A Message for Uvalde, From one mom to another

From one mom to another

I am a mom of two kids.  My oldest just finished elementary school.  He is excited to go to middle school.  He loves his friends and sports.  He even loves math.  He loves going to school. When the day is over, he returns to school with his buddies to play games on the playground.  School is a safe place.  My youngest is about to begin her last year of elementary school.  She loves art, music and TikTok.  She is starting a slime making business. When she once missed a week of school due to illness, she was greeted upon her return by a gaggle of cheering and squealing girls.  School is a happy place. These are the good ole days, they say. 

I am also a wife.  I am so proud to stand beside my husband and partner as he works tirelessly to make products—even inherently dangerous products—safer. Using his 27 years of legal knowledge and skill to make changes in the way products are made, sold, and used has been and continues to be his career mission. Products such as a jet ski which he had recalled, a surgical stapler, motor vehicle seats, tires, seatbelts, aircraft parts and systems, a well-known brand of wagon sold for children—these items and so many others have been made safer thanks to the efforts of Jeff and his colleagues and associates.  And I am here for it.

But there are certain items that can never be safe.  Products for which the sole purpose is destruction and death—those products can never be made safe.  And when a company willfully markets those items to children, or teenagers, or people who, for whatever reason, are not capable of meeting the responsibility of using such items, tragedy inevitably follows. 

It happens so often that maybe I have become desensitized to it.  Maybe I thought that it happened in faraway places.  Maybe I thought it wouldn’t happen in my community.  But now, I can no longer think that.  It has happened in a small Texas town.  A town so similar to the towns that my loved ones and my friends and my family have grown up in.  It is a town where parents lovingly drop their children at school just as I drop mine at school, with the expectation of their safety. 

Maybe, like me, the moms were tired during the last week of school.  Maybe the grind of making breakfast and lunch and getting the children to school with al the things weighed heavily on them.  Maybe, like me, counting down the last few days of school until summer was keeping everybody going just enough for one last push to the finish line.  Maybe, like me, they were cramming the last bit of work in before the new normal of less structured summertime began. 

Just a few months ago, I took my kids to school and needed to deliver an item to the library.  It was just after eight in the morning.  Suddenly, a code was announced over the school-wide intercom.  I did not understand the code.  The children however knew exactly what to do.  The installed gates came down.  Children hid in corners and behind desks.  Doors locked.  I was ushered into a closet where we waited. 

This drill was as commonplace for my kids as saying the pledge of allegiance every morning.  But for me it was terrifying.  I am sad that this is where we are.  I am sad that this is how we prepare to protect our children at the place where they spend most of their waking hours. I am sad that even despite preparation and planning for what now seems inevitable, we have not been able to protect our precious children.

So what do we do now?  We can’t bring our nineteen children and their two beloved teachers back.  But can we stop this from happening to yet another family, another school, another community?  I believe we can.  I believe we must. 

If you want to talk to me about what taking legal action looks like, please contact me. I promise, I will do my best to help. Together we can and will take action against these companies that knew this would happen but did nothing to stop it.

Jill Hightower
[email protected]