Posts Tagged ‘Adam Lanza shooter’

Explaining the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to Children

December 16, 2012

Connecticut School Shooting

An awful tragedy that is going to unsettle children.

Below are some tips by experts in the field I used for the Colorado shooting, but they are just as apt in this instance:

Watch for Trauma: “Young children may have difficulties identifying and expressing feelings. Parents should pay attention to the children’s play (for instance, preoccupation with certain aggressive electronic games, drawings, repetitive play that imitates the traumatic event or events). Another sign of trauma is avoidance of reminders.” — Dr. Aurelia Bizamcer, Medical Director, Outpatient Psychiatry at Temple University Hospital

Keep Answers Truthful but Simple: “We’re not holding back, but we’re not giving more because the giving more could have the risk of alarming the child. … As a parent you have an obligation to protect a young child from being overwhelmed.” –Alan Kazdin, Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University; Director of the Yale Parenting Center.

Reassure Them: “We need to appreciate that kids have different fears. Many will worry about the movies, but others will worry about such events spilling over to other areas, such as the mall, school, the neighborhood. For kids of all ages, it is really important to let them know that these kinds of events are incredibly rare. ” –Dr. Gene Beresin, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training, Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital

Keep Answers Age-Appropriate: “Parents should be sure to pitch the discussion to their kids’ developmental level. For a 6-year-old, it’s completely appropriate to reassure them of their safety, with some emphasis on the fact that this person is no longer at large. For kids over the age of 8, more concrete details are appropriate, along with, perhaps, a general discussion of how to be safe in public — locating exit doors for instance, and getting to safety in the event of any dangerous occurrence.” –Jay Reeve,President and Chief Executive Officer, Apalachee Center

Don’t Make Assumptions: “Don’t project your own feelings, fears and anxiety on kids because you know you don’t really know exactly what your kids are feeling until you talk to them.” –Dr. Jane Taylor, psychiatrist

lanza

Click on the link to read Get Rid of Your Guns!

Click on the link to read Helping Kids Cope in the Aftermath of Sandy

Click here to read ‘Helping Our Children Make Sense of Natural Disasters’.

Get Rid of Your Guns!

December 15, 2012

dawn

One of the best policies that Australia has ever implemented was a gun buy-back scheme. Although illegal from owning a firearm, the Government recognised after a tragic massacre at Port Arthur that guns were available and something had to be done about it. So they bought people’s guns and incinerated them. You would think that the people who owned these guns would have happily kept quiet about it, and I’m sure many did, but the hand-in rate was overwhelming.

Whilst I realise that the United States has a very different outlook on guns than we do, I must say that if there is an amendment in their constitution that I’m unhappy with it’s the “right to bear arms” one. Whilst I wish this amendment could be tossed away for good, I realise that the US population would never accept such a drastic change.

But that doesn’t mean you have to own a gun. That doesn’t mean that you have to expose your children to guns. I know that guns don’t kill people but no angry, potential gunmen is going to take siege of a school with a baseball bat.

Whilst guns are readily accessible, I’m afraid security measures are unlikely to be sufficient in warding off gunmen:

Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary who died in the shootings at the Newtown, Conn., school Dec. 14, had recently implemented new security measures, CNN reports.

In a letter to parents this fall, Hochsprung outlined new security procedures, which included checking identification for visitors if they were not recognized by staff.

“Please understand that with nearly 700 students and over 1,000 parents representing 500… families, most parents will be asked to show identification,” Hochsprung wrote in the letter, which was addressed to “Members of our Sandy Hook Family.”

The letter also stated that all visitors arriving at the school after 9:30 a.m., when the front gates were locked, would have to ring a bell for entry and would immediately have to report to the main office to sign in.

The Associated Press reported that the shooter’s mother was a teacher at the school.

Twenty-six victims died in the shooting, including 20 children and six staff members. The gunman appears to have taken his own life.

Hochsprung, a veteran administrator with 12 years of experience, kept an active Twitter account and was a respected member of the education community.

“Dawn Hochsprung… touched many of our hearts with her professionalism and love for her students,” Bethlehem, Conn., first selectman Jeff Hamel said in a statement Friday afternoon, according to the Litchfield County Times. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all the victims from this selfish, senseless act.”

WNYT reported that Hochsprung was a doctoral student at the Sage Colleges, having started a education leadership program over the summer.

Lori Quigley, dean of the college, told the station that Hochsprung was “vibrant, full of life and loved her school community” and called her a “truly… caring administrator.”

A candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting was scheduled in Woodbury, Conn., Friday night.

Click on the link to read Helping Kids Cope in the Aftermath of Sandy

Click here to read ‘Helping Our Children Make Sense of Natural Disasters’.


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