In response to the possible need to talk with children directly affected by, or halfway around the world who hear about, the devastating shooting in the Connecticut Elementary School the below email is from a well-respected colleague and includes information that some of you may find helpful and/or may want to share with other parents, teachers or educational stakeholders.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard or read by now that there was a school shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. You may get parents or teachers asking what to do in light of this. I got this list from my son’s school (Friends School of Atlanta [FSA]), and I thought it was worth sharing with you and, if you wish to disseminate, with the teachers we serve.
FSA offers the following suggestions:
- Shelter younger children from graphic media reports
- If your child/student asks about it, try to stay calm, and choose a quiet place with few distractions
- Stay as calm as possible; children pick up on the feelings of others
- Focus on your child/student's feelings and thoughts, without judgment or suggestions
- Reassure your child/student, and try to help find ways of coping, such as discussing how your student is protected, and what positive actions your student might be able to take
- Talk about safety measures being taken; the National Crime Prevention Council publication shown below might be helpful for this discussion
- Talk about your family's safety rules and plans
- Maintain routines and structures; they are reassuring during times of stress
- Provide facts, in keeping with your child/student's age and maturity
- Open a way for your child/student to communicate new thoughts and fears as they arise
- Give plenty of hugs and attention, even if your child/student does not show outward signs of distress
- Take advantage of organizations providing help:
- The Lucy Daniels Center gives age-specific suggestions
- Mental Health America also offers suggestions, along with a list of signs that indicate a child may need help
- The New York Child Study Center has published a report, "Caring for Kids After Trauma, Disaster and Death: A Guide for Parents and Professionals"
- The National Crime Prevention Council offers "Stopping School Violence: A Dozen Things..."
The National Association of School Psychologists offers "Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers"—this publication provides a helpful list of talking points.
Caitlin McMunn Dooley, Ph.D.
Early Childhood Education Department
Georgia State University
If you would like to speak to a therapist in our office in Bountiful, Utah - visit our website or you can contact them directly.
Lisa Bradford, LCSW, 801.660.8441
Monica Forsman, LAPC, 801.604.5040
Melanie Holt, LAPC, 801.718.9840
Lisa Steed, LCSW, 801.231.8914
Micahel Van Dam, LCSW, 801.815.6152