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Why This Photo Of A Little Girl Standing On A Toilet Is Going Viral

When Stacey Wehrman Feeley took a photo of her daughter standing on a toilet to send to her husband, she thought she was capturing an adorable, spontaneous moment. "I thought she was doing something cute," she told CNN in an interview.

However, she says in a now-viral Facebook post, she quickly found out that her daughter wasn't standing on the toilet to be mischievous — she said was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool for what to do if you're stuck in the bathroom and there's a gunman on the campus. Refinery29 has not been able to verify that this was a school-ordered drill, and Feeley has not returned our request for comment.
Feeley, who owns Silikids, a children's products company in Traverse City, MI, was crestfallen. "At that moment all innocense [sic] of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone," she wrote in her post.

She took the opportunity to call for stricter gun control, writing, "Politicians — take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats."

Feeley's photo and Facebook post went viral, clearly resonating with many other users. At the time of this writing, the photo has been shared more than 31,000 times and has close to 4,000 comments.

"Your poor baby girl having to be taught this as the norm," one user commented. "Gun laws need to be changed."

"Is it sad that our children have to practice lock-down procedures? Yes, yes it is," another wrote. "It's not much different, however, than students practicing 'duck and cover' air raid drills during the '50s-'70s."

Many commenters expressed surprise that such a young child would be taught a procedure like this. "I am not pretending to have all the answers or even a shred of them," Feeley wrote, "but unless you want your children standing on top of a toilet, we need to do something,"
She told CNN that she shared the photo to show her friends and family how children are being affected by society's approach to gun control and gun violence.

"I want [politicians] to know that my child, their children, their great-grandchildren, and future generations to come... This is the society they're growing up in. As politicians, they single-handedly have a hand in shaping society, setting the way we go," she said.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Feeley declined to comment on the name of her daughter's school.

It's unclear if standing on a toilet is in fact a recommended part of lockdown procedures or drills, but many states do include lockdown or shelter-in-place drills as part of licensing requirements for child care centres, according to the Administration For Children & Families Office of Child Care. These drills, which generally involve moving to the centre or safer part of a building and locking the doors, have become routine in school districts across the country, including in Michigan.

Refinery29 has reached out to Feeley as well as emergency preparedness organisations for comment. We will update this story if we receive a response.