SANTA FE, Texas (FOX 26) - Following the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School that took the lives of ten people, each family has coped with the aftermath differently. While the conversation at Santa Fe has been largely focused on school safety in recent weeks, one victim's family is advocating for something else to be introduced.
In an exclusive interview with FOX 26 News, Christian Riley Garcia's parents spoke on camera for the first time since the shooting on May 18.
Shannan and DJ Claussen said they're advocating for instilling religion in children at the school level.
"My biggest thing is we need to put God back in the schools," said Shannan. "We need to put God back in our nations."
Make no mistake, Shannan and DJ Claussen recognize the importance of increasing security in schools -- after all, they have a 6-year-old daughter. But they argue many of those measures are simply deterrents. Instead, they believe the root of the problem traces back to the lack of religion and strong parental figures at home.
"We can hire as many police and put as many things in the way, but that's not the problem," said DJ. "It's just evil."
"It's a heart problem, it's a people problem," said Shannan. "Evil people will find a way to kill people. That's unfortunately the world we live in today."
The couple said the values instilled through religion teaches children accountability for their actions.
"I think as a society issue, you can always put these there until it's a Band-Aid," said DJ. "You have to look long inside yourself, along withe everybody else to own up for what's bad or good."
Their son, Christian Riley Garcia, was exemplary in character and believed he was born to serve others. Only ten days before Riley was killed in the Santa Fe High School shooting, the 15-year-old boy had written one of his favorite Bible verses on the study of his room.
"I found it after the funeral," said Shannan. "He wrote down John 15:13: 'There's no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.' He exhibited that love."
In the days that lie ahead, Riley's parents said they find solace knowing he died doing what he loved. For now, they'll keep living out what they were meant to do.
"What makes me keep going is I have to finish what I have to do so I can go home," said Shannan. "I'm living for his purpose not mine."
Shannan and DJ Claussen are one of several families of victims suing the accused shooter's parents for gross negligence. They said while the lawsuit won't bring their son back, it does help hold the parents accountable for this awful tragedy.