Friday, December 14, 2012

School Shooting -Parent Information on Dealing With Children



In response to the tragic shooting in Connecticut
December 14, 2012

  • The school shooting tragedy today has certainly had an impact on all Americans.

  • We need to understand that children will be affected in different ways.


  • As most elementary students view this event from a self-centered viewpoint, they are normally most concerned about their own well-being and that of their family members.  Children’s immediate reaction to such events often includes a fear for their own safety; for example, will this happen here?

  • While no one can ever assure anyone of 100% safety, according to our school district’s psychologists, there is no harm in reassuring the very young (under 3rd grade) that they are safe and that nothing like this will happen here.  Older students are capable of understanding risk, and reassurances of the “unlikeliness” of anything like this happening here are worthwhile. 

  • In addition, as parents you should look for behavioral signs such as, sleeping or eating changes that may indicate the child needs to talk more about what they are experiencing. 

  • A good point to remember is that children take their cues from their parents.  Therefore, one should be mindful of their reaction of anxiety or grief in front of their children.  Extreme or severe reactions can be frightening for children who need to feel that someone is in control.


  • Lastly, we discourage you from allowing your children, especially those under 10 from watching televised coverage of these tragedies.  Children this young may simply not have the coping skills to see such events.  For older children, parents should minimize viewing and be sure to watch with your children and reassure them of their safety.

  • Topeka Public Schools has a crisis team made up of social workers, counselors and psychologists available to help staff and students cope with difficult situations.