Is that headline for real? Should grade school children learn battlefield trauma care? Why even ask this shocking question? Because this is already the law in Texas for 7th graders and up. Now there’s a bill to propose this training for 3rd through 5th graders as well. Seriously.
Third grade! Learning battlefield trauma care techniques!
That frog in the adjacent image is the kind of toy a third grader might play with.
But if I had a kid, and their play involved doing this to their frog, I’d be concerned.
But in Texas, it’s going to be required learning for kids as young as third graders.
Just in case you missed it, it’s already required starting in 7th grade.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Should grade school children learn battlefield trauma care?
What’s this about?
As I said, this is already law in Texas. I was surprised to learn this. I write about mass shootings and the responses to them from time to time. Of course, my goal is to look at it from what a Christian response should be, at least according to what Jesus taught us in the Bible.
Considering this, I’m surprised it hasn’t shown up before now. But here it is, from yahoo news.
Since 2020, Texas law has mandated that schools offer students as young as seventh graders lessons in “battlefield trauma care,” where children learn how to apply tourniquets and chest seals in class.
Wow. Does the law really say they’re learning “battlefield trauma care”? Or is this some kind of fake news, truth stretching, partisan attack, or something like that?
Before answering that, let’s look at the proposal to bring this same training down to the third grade.
Should battlefield trauma care be required for children as young as third graders?
Here’s an excerpt from an Austin Texas ABC News article titled Texas bill proposes bleeding stations in schools, therapist warns of mental health impacts.
A proposed bill could require students as young as eight years old to go through training that will teach them how to render aid during a traumatic event, such as a school shooting.
House Bill 1147 looks to alter the age for those who can use ‘bleeding control stations’ in Texas schools. State Representative and bill author Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, D-San Antonio, says she created similar legislation during the 86th legislative session that currently allows seventh graders and older to operate the stations. The San Antonio lawmaker said after the Robb Elementary shooting that killed 19 fourth graders, she felt it was necessary to file the bill to lower the grade level. State Rep. Gervin-Hawkins believes this will allow more access to training that can protect innocent lives.
I do want to point something out though. … similar legislation during the 86th legislative session that currently allows seventh graders and older to operate the stations. Allowing something isn’t forcing something.
Hold onto that thought, along with the idea that this is battlefield trauma care. We’ll get there. But first, let’s complete the chain of events to include the text proposed bill.
What’s in the bill that brings the current law to the third grade level?
Before we look at the text of the bill, I’m going to leave out one part. The concern here is the drop from 7th grade to 3rd grade. But the bill also includes the introduction of an alerting system. Since that has no bearing on our discussion today, I’m leaving that part of the bill out.
So, with that caveat, here’s the text of the proposed bill. The proposed change (yes, only one change) is color-coded, as it is on the legiscan.com website from which I got it.
The first time we see battlefield trauma care is in the requirements for the tourniquets. That’s not surprising.
However, the second time is when it says they must use instructional documents developed by the American College of Surgeons or the United States department of Homeland Security detailing methods to prevent blood loss following a traumatic event.
Just in case you’ve never seen any instructions for making a tourniquet, I provided a copy of the one from DHS.
It’s no big deal with that little image.
But think about that that is. Think about being a third grader. And you’re about do to that to your best friend, also a third grader. Then remember that your training taught you that if you don’t get that tourniquet on correctly in five minutes or less. your best friend is going to die.
It’s not a small scratch like the one in the poster. Your best friend is bleeding out. There’s a good chance the blood is spurting out, because an artery was hit. There’s blood all over the place. Including you.
Is this what we’ve come to as a country?
Is this what we’ve come to as a country? Is this really our solution to taking care of mass shootings in schools? Even in grade schools?
Could you have done this in third grade?
Could you do this even now?
I learned how to do a tourniquet in high school. It was for a Boy Scout merit badge. There wasn’t any blood.
I don’t know if I could’ve done it or not. I kind of doubt it. Experience from parrot bites, dog bites, knife cuts, and things like that has taught me something. I can’t stand the sight of someone else’s blood. It makes me want to pass out.
My own blood? It’s not so bad. I’ve had dog bites that took many weeks to heal. Once, when one of our dogs (Donnie) was run over by a car, he bit me when I picked him up off the road. We took him to the vet and got him taken care of first.
Then I realized how badly he bit me. It started to hurt. So after he was taken care of then I went to urgent care. The Donnie healed from hit abrasions, collapsed bladder, and a couple small hip fractures before my hand healed!
So my blood’s no problem. Maybe I could put on my own tourniquet? But my wife’s blood? She’d have to give me smelling salts to bring me back before I could take care of her.
And we want third graders to do this?
What’s wrong with us that we think grade school children learn battlefield trauma care?
What’s wrong with us that we think that’s the best solution?
And I must say, that’s especially a question for the conservative Republican so-called Christians that support those politicians that brought us here.
Yes, the person proposing this is a Democrat. I think it’s a problem, no matter the party involved, that anyone thinks this is a good solution.
Having said that, my feelings are even stronger about anyone who would allow us to get here. Even more so for all those who take money from gun lobbies to keep us here. And even more so for all those who vote for these people in spite of, or even because of, their support for assault style weapons.
I’ve actually had pastors write in to let me know why they need these weapons. Pastors who think it’s their right to have them.
I can’t believe that people who are so concerned with abortions are also so concerned about being able to have these weapons.
Is it, do I dare write it, that because abortions are about someone else’s life, but assault weapons are about their own life? Do you God is any less concerned about people He loves because they were killed by an assault weapon than by any other method?
Other viewpoints on the proposed law
From the person who authored both laws
I understand that there are concerns about students being exposed to this kind of material. First of all, no student is required to take this training. If a student or their parents are worried about the material, they can opt-out. Secondly, students are already very aware of the prevalence of school shootings; giving them the tools necessary to stop the preventable death of a classmate is common sense. Lastly, the committee substitute for HB 1147 would require a school counselor or other behavioral health specialist to be present during the training to assist students with handling this difficult subject.
OK – a school counselor is required during training.
But nothing about why this is the best solution. Nothing about after the mass shooting. And yes, parents can choose to opt out their kid. But do you really think they won’t talk about it with other kids who did go through the training? Will there be no handouts that they’ll be sharing afterwards? Will they confiscate cell phones before training to be sure no one takes pictures that’ll be out on social media or sent to their friends? Or even sent to kids they don’t like to traumatize them?
And that’s just the stuff that I can come up with while I’m typing in the paragraph above.
From a school psychologist
“For a tornado watch they prepare children for a mass casualty. The quicker you respond to a gunshot and stop the bleeding the higher likelihood that you would have to save a life even if it has to be a child that’s trained in this. It’s not what we want. I don’t want children to be exposed to this. I want them to be protected in a bubble but that’s not how it is in this country.”
that’s not how it is in this country? Really? It’s not what we want, but it’s the best we can do?
Who is advocating for these kids? Who’s advocating for everyone who is killed shot, or otherwise affected by all these mass shootings in this country? Who!?!?
Do you remember what Jesus said about little children?
19:13-15 pp — Mk 10:13-16; Lk 18:15-17
Mt 19:13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
Mt 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
OK – some of you will say I’m misusing this passage. To which I say, yes, but no. Huh?
Remember, Christians should be aware that much of what Jesus said applied on at least two levels.
The part that Christians should understand, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, is that the little children aren’t literally young people. It’s about us, as Christians, needing to have trust in God, just as little kids have trust in their parents.
But the simple part was also in my explanation. And the problem is – we can’t even do the simple part!
Children often can’t trust their parents to do the right thing for them. I learned that back in kindergarten when I was four years old. And it’s a lesson I’ve had reinforced for as long as they were still alive. But even they didn’t have guns. They didn’t even like the single shot rifle my mother’s father had to shoot mice, snakes, and other critters that came into the house from the forest they live by.
But now, people who consider themselves good Christians have no problem insisting on their right to bear arms. Even to bear assault style weapons with large magazines. Abd they have no problem voting for Republican candidates that support such weapons. Even though their children, their friends’ children, or any children, could be killed with them. If anything, we know people’s children are going to be killed with weapons such as these. And yet, the same Christians who claim to be pro-life continue to vote in politicians who are willing to trade dollars in their pockets for more kids dying. And all the while, they know all those good Christians will keep voting for them, even as the kids keep dying.
How did we get here?
And when will Christians begin to say, en masse, this is wrong!
Conclusion – Should grade school children learn battlefield trauma care?
7:7-11 pp — Lk 11:9-13
Mt 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Mt 7:9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
In one way, it’s similar to the passage above.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children
I added emphasis to the word if above That’s because, sadly, tragically, we can’t take care of our children. No, we can’t/ If this is the best we can do, then we are failing our children.
As Christians, when we die, do we really think Jesus is going to tell us, good job taking care of My children?
As I said, I am Christian. But as I look at the world today, I wonder about something. If I was a kid today, or an adult who wasn’t yet Christian, would I even want to become a Christian?
If this is the kind of thing I saw as the core of Christian love, I’d want nothing to do with it. Nothing.
Fortunately, I know better. I know this is decidedly not what Christianity should be about.
I know Jesus isn’t shocked about what’s happening.
But I have to believe He is disappointed.
Image by Alexa from Pixabay