Like millions of other Americans, my heart is heavy after hearing about the mass school shooting this week in Florida of 17 adults and students by a former student on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018. CNN’s article showed how quickly the devestation occurred and peace was shattered:
While I initially joined mourners in prayers for families of the victims… I began to grow in concern for all children impacted by the shooting and their parents who may be at a loss now.
Since I work in trauma recovery as a counselor and routinely hear the broken hearts of children and youth struggling to cope with what happened to them, my wheels started turning in my mind. What little part can I do to help? Growing up in urban city I remember how devastating it was when my close friends were killed or badly injured. It was definitely traumatizing and I “acted out” like many students who silence their pain and as a result do not get sufficient help dealing with the overwhelming feelings. Thank God for my parents who prayed continuously and disciplined me through my nightmare season. My parents never gave up on me.
It was and continues to be difficult for children to understand what to do with all the grief, anger, frustration and fear swirling around in their heads after a horrible tragedy.
I kept thinking,
“Parents need support understanding how to help thier kids cope and process this tragedy… not just this one, but the many others students live through that don’t ever make it to the headlines.”
Then… last night, I received a call from a close friend who brought it all home and made me realize youth I know and care about personally have been impacted by this recent shooting. My extra babies. I cannot begin to express in words how it feels. Here is her status update this am:A link below has a simple resource any family or teacher can use with students who have been impacted by the Florida shooting.
Overall, help students:
- talk about their feelings concerning the tragedy in a healthy manner
- Provide safe judgment free environment where they can communicate
- Art, drama, writing or any form of expression is also encouraged.
Dwight Bain is a thought leader in our country to many corporations and individuals. I’m grateful he compiled a “what to do” article in reponse to the Florida school shooting. Bain says, “If you can talk through it – you can get through it”
Parents and teachers can consider the counseling tools on his blog post. His video commentary is link is at the top of the article.
Educators may also benefit from the Trauma Informed Podcast that offers direct intervention strategies to help students who have experienced trauma. Dr. Kay Ayre has condensed useful data into an easy to apply and digest format. It is sometimes comforting to hear from others in the trenches.
Additionally, please reach out if you have further questions to help your child or classroom cope with the recent incident. More comprehensive trauma recovery solutions are available and may be more suitable for your circumstances. You can contact a local counselor, your school guidance counselor or message me through LinkedIn.
Again, my sincere prayers and condolences for all those impacted by the Florida school shooting.
Lord we pray You will help us, comfort and heal heavy hearts in Jesus Name. Amen.
Heloise J Ridley, MBA, MA