A former Marine and parent is standing guard outside a Nashville, Tennessee elementary school after his daughter told him she was scared to return to school after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
After obtaining permission from the school to stand watch, Former Staff Sargeant Jordan Pritchard, retrieved his old Marine Corps uniform out of the attic and began standing outside the front entrance of Gower Elementary School on Monday. Although he is unarmed, he hopes his presence sends a message and is a deterrent to anyone who considers entering the school to try and harm the children or staff.
He is also doing it to ease the mind of his daughter who was afraid something like the Newtown shooting could happen at her school. He told WKRN:
"As a dad, I can't have that. I can't have my daughter come to school worried about somebody coming in and hurting her. To settle her peace of mind, who better than her dad to come out here and stand in front of the school?"
Other parents are thrilled that Pritchard is willing to spend his day outside the school, protecting the children inside. Sarah Knies, who has two children that attend Gower Elementary, told WTVY:
"He made me feel good. Just to know that he stood up and did something to make us all feel better today."
Lucy Hipp, another parent whose children attend the school said:
"Just to know that symbolic uniform that represents protection is here at Gower is just heart warming. It's peaceful, it brought a tear to my eye yesterday,"
Pritchard says officials with the school have told him many of the parents who come into the office are crying, thankful for his presence. After the Christmas break, he plans to organize other parents willing to stand guard at Gower and other school around Nashville.
He told WTVR:
"I’m doing this because we need hope....hope is larger than any weapon. There’s no job in the world that can pay me enough money to not do things for the kids and for the parents.”