SANDY (ABC4 Utah) If adults have trouble coping with the massacre in Las Vegas, just consider the plight of young children when they hear or see news of this tragedy.
In the old days adults could pretty much control the information flow into their young, impressionable brains. But now, with the internet and social media, most youngsters will at least be partially aware of the tragedy.
Most school districts are taking a proactive approach providing information to parents and children to help children deal with it.
“Any reaction that is out of the normal would be your clue,” says Lori Jones. She’s the principal for over 400 children at Oakdale Elementary in Sandy in the Canyons School District.
“You might see extra aggression, pushing and shoving as they cope with those extra feelings.” Teachers are watching for that on the playground. Parents should look for the same behavior at home as siblings interact.
Jones continues with warning signs. “You could have students who have stomach aches. You might have more kids who have headaches.”
She says some kids keep things bottled up and others are better at verbalizing. She gave some examples of possible questions and suggested answers.
QUESTION: I’m afraid to come to school. Will somebody come into school and shoot me?
ANSWER: All the doors around the school are locked and they are checked frequently. So I can understand how you would be worried about that, but I want you to know that school is a safe place. It’s one of the safest places that you can be.
QUESTION: Was he crazy? Was he a terrorist?
ANSWER: We don’t know anything about the man right now. It’s very sad that it happened, but the police are investigating to find out how to prevent other people from doing something like that.
Principal Jones says the bottom line is to keep your answers short, honest, calm and reassuring. And remember that school teachers and counselors are always there to help.