Ukrainian parents made the heartbreaking decision to send their children to school wearing stickers that state their blood type, amid tensions between their country and Russia.
This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered troops into the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk after publicly acknowledging the areas that are supported by separatists as independent. Although Putin said “peacekeeping” was behind the decision, it drew condemnation from neighboring countries and stoked fear of a war between Russia and Ukraine.
According to an exclusive report by TODAY, some Ukrainian parents who are concerned for their children’s safety, sent them to school with the stickers. “It’s like a piece of paper, with blood type information, the names of their parents, and telephone numbers,” a parent named Vasyl told TODAY Parents. “There is no one form for such a sticker. It depends on every parent. It’s up to them.”
Journalist Olga Tokariuk also told the outlet, “This was a debate in one of (many) closed groups on Facebook. Some schools actually made these stickers mandatory.”
And a mother named Khrystyna told TODAY that while she is sending her teenager to school with an emergency safety plan, she is keeping her two youngest daughters home. “The kindergarten is far away from my daughter’s school and our home,” she told the news organization. “I’m afraid of the logistics — if something happens, it will be too difficult for me to gather all of them together.”
If your children have questions about war, or the escalating situation overseas, Common Sense Media has published an age-by-age guide for how to broach those conversations. According to the non-profit group, kids encounter “remote exposure” to tragic events that they may not experience themselves, but that can damage their mental health.
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