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Advice for parents addressing the issue of school mass shooting with their children

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Children in Classroom

In 2022, America has suffered 27 school shootings. This week, 19 students and two teachers were murdered at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. It’s a sensitive and scary subject for kids stepping into classrooms. How do parents talk with their school-aged children about these events?

Mental health experts agree the news of school shooting incidents cause fear and angst among K-12 students. Often, they get their information from social media.

“It would definitely be recommended to sit down with your child and to find out what they have heard?”

Whether it’s from friends or in the classroom, Christy Buck, Executive Director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, says children have fears and parents need bring it out into the open. The conversation begins with reassurance.

“You’ve got to say that this is not something that happens everyday in every school in America. So now, what are we going to do? What are you going to do, as a student? And now, especially if they are a middle or high school student, we want to concentrate on possibly being proactive. How can you make sure that your school is safe? What do you think you can do?”

That means monitoring school culture. How are classmates being treated? Do they want to be in school? Do they feel like they belong?

Buck explains the school shooter profile is often a student who had been bullied. Classmates should treat one another with kindness, respect and civility.

For more information, Buck recommends childmind.org. For younger school age children, pbskids.org/when-something-scary-happens.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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