UTAH (ABC4) – While no one was injured today when West High School went into lockdown, officials say the situation can still leave a mark on families.
Crisis Intervention Specialist Denia-Marie Ollerton said each child reacts differently to school lockdowns. It’s important to let them know whatever they’re feeling is OK.
“Expect a wide range of reactions and emotions. Anywhere from, you know, not reacting at all and just not seeming like it really phases them to maybe really severely traumatized by something like this,” said Ollerton.
Some of the questions Ollerton suggests asking include:
- How did this make you feel?
- What are you thinking right now?
- What’s your anxiety/stress level?
Whatever their answer is, Ollerton said you should try not to react, because this may add to your child’s distress. While Ollerton said there is no right way for a child to respond, there are signs for when your child may need to see a therapist.
“If there’s a preoccupation with death, either with you know, themselves dying or other people dying,” said Ollerton.
It can be difficult to stay calm in situations like this, which is why Ollerton said parents should ask district officials about the school’s policies before an incident happens.
Some questions to ask your child school district:
- How does the district handle threats?
- What does a typical lockdown look like?
- What is needed to issue a lockdown?
- What is your notification process?
Ollerton also recommends having a plan for your family including how to get a hold of each other if someone’s phone is not working. Ollerton is also the SafeUT Supervisor. This app allows someone to report a concern anonymously. Ollerton says you should remind your child to report any concerns they may have, so the professionals can look into it, and decide if more help is needed.