TOWNVILLE, S.C. — In 2016, Ava Olsen, then 6 years old, survived a shooting at her South Carolina elementary school. So did her little brother, and her teacher. But her best friend Jacob wasn’t as lucky.
“I heard and saw it all happen and I was very scared. My best friend, Jacob, was shot and died. That made me very sad,” Ava wrote in a letter to Pres. Trump. “I loved him and was going to marry him one day. I hate guns. One ruined my life and took my best friend.”
Ava was so distraught after the shooting, she was diagnosed with PTSD, her mom said, and doctors recommended she be home-schooled. She began yanking out her own eyelashes, and using stickers to cover scary words in books, like “blood” and “guns” and “kill.”
“She’s still really struggling a lot emotionally. She’s still very sad, very angry,” Mary Olson said. “The worst days are pretty tough.”
The 7-year-old explained some of her reasons for writing to the President.
“I wanted … some people to keep kids safe, because my brother was at school, and I was afraid that something was going to happen to him,” she said.
She asked the President: “Are you going to keep kids safe? How can you keep us safe?” she asked, pleading “don’t let any more bad people get guns and hurt kids.”
Though Donald Trump replied to Ava, his response lacked specifics, and she isn’t satisfied.
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Click here to read the letter on WYFF-TV or scroll down.
“I guess I’m not quite sure where, when, or what the timeline is, rather, for doing something about these school violence incidents,” Mary Olson told Baldwin. “I ask that he take a stand now and end this now … this is, to me, ridiculous that kids are going to school and worrying about their safety.”
Next, Ava is scheduled to speak with her state’s governor, a meeting Baldwin said is being taken very seriously.
The agenda for the session? “My ideas on how to keep kids safe,” Ava said.
Thank you for your letter. It is very brave of you to share your story with me. Mrs. Trump and I are so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Jacob. Our prayers are with you, your family, your school and Jacob’s family.
Schools are places where children learn and grow with their friends. Their halls should be free of fear. It is my goal as President to make sure that children in America grow up in safe environments, giving them the best opportunity to realize their full potential. I will continue to focus on protecting Americans and improving the safety of our Nation.
Mrs. Trump and I hold you close in our hearts. We hope you always remember that no matter what may happen, there are so many people in your life who love you, support you, and want to see you fulfill all your dreams.