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Monday
Feb052018

A young girl's plea to the president: 'Keep kids safe from guns' 

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The letter Ava Olsen wrote to President Donald Trump got right to the point: “Are you going to keep kids safe? How can you keep us safe?”

Olsen was just seven years old when she wrote that letter - after witnessing her best friend, six-year-old Jacob Hall, get shot in broad daylight on school grounds, according to an account in The Washington Post.

Four people were shot that day in September 2016. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, will learn this month if he will be charged as an adult, according to the newspaper. He's accused of shooting three people outside Townville Elementary School during recess after stealing his father’s pistol and murdering him.

One of those outside at recess - was Jacob.

“I loved him and was going to marry him one day,” Ava wrote the president, according to the Post account. "I hate guns. One ruined my life and took my best friend."

And Trump wrote back:

“Schools are places where children learn and grow with their friends. Their halls should be free of fear,” according to a photo of his letter in the Post. “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.”

Efforts by ABC News to contact Ava and her mother were unsuccessful. The White House had no immediate comment on the Post story.

Ava, who's now eight, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder not long after the shooting, according to the Post.

She was thrilled, the Post said, that the president responded to her letter, but wasn't satisfied.

“He didn’t say how he could keep kids safe,” Ava told her mother, Mary, the Post quoted her as saying.

She decided to write the president again.

“Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply to my letter. It means a lot to me for you to listen to me,” she began the second letter. “Every day is still really hard for me, because I think about that day often. I sometimes still think about that day in my head thinking it will happen again,” she continued.

“I have some ideas to help keep kids and schools safe...my first idea is: keep violence away from schools and kids, move the kids to a safer area,” Ava wrote, according to a photo of the letter.

She asked the president to start building schools in a “circle” shape -- with playgrounds in the middle. “That way nobody could drive up and shoot us,” Ava added.

Ava said she knew it could cost more but something needed to be done.

“I could help people in charge of money not to waste it, but use it for good things to help kids. I can help with that too, or if you need any more ideas to help kids,” Ava wrote. “I want to use my voice to help.”

"Please," she wrote to the president, "keep kids safe from guns."

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