Resources for Educators, and Families to Discuss School Shootings
May 24, 2022
The school shooting today that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is the latest horrifying act of violence in our country.
This senseless loss of life will be difficult for adults to process on their own while trying to support children and young people. Our students want and need to talk about what they see, remember, and are feeling now; they need the guidance and safety of adults in their lives to be able to navigate their own emotions and trauma in a healthy, safe, and productive way. Adults need to be able to acknowledge and address their own emotional responses in order to best support young people.
SBCEO compiled resources to help adults as they support students with processing their thoughts and feelings regarding the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
RECOGNIZING AND HONORING BIG FEELINGS
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) tips for parents and educators to talk with children about violence suggests adults:
- Reassure children they are safe and review safety procedures
- Create a sense of safety by returning to normal, predictable routines as soon as possible
- Make time to talk and listen to the concerns and feelings of children
- Limit the use of media consumption of these events to lower their stress and to maintain balance and perspective
- Acknowledge that sleep difficulties are common and can lead to fatigue and poor participation
The American Psychological Association (APA) has tips for managing your own distress following a mass shooting including:
- Reaching out for support from other adults (friend or professional)
- Honoring your feelings and taking time for yourself, especially if you’re experiencing personal loss or grief
- Limiting your amount of media coverage of these events
- Find ways to help in your community
Call the National Parent Helpline at 1-855-4A PARENT (1-855-427-2736) to get emotional support from a trained Advocate. They are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The APA recommends honesty with children – acknowledging that bad things do happen, but reassuring them with the information that many people are working to keep them safe.
While we know schools remain among the safest places for students, we also know that today's shooting in Uvalde, Texas may understandably cause heightened emotions and concern about safety issues.
You can't educate students without them being safe; it's a responsibility Santa Barbara County school leaders and employees take very seriously. Every Santa Barbara County school has a safety plan and procedures that contribute to maintaining a safe learning environment for our students. School personnel will be reviewing those plans and continuing to implement best practices in maintaining the safety and security of our schools.