Posts Tagged ‘Dealing With Tragedy’

Guess What This Map Represents

June 12, 2014



This map which looks like a bad case of chicken pox unfortunately represents the 74 school shootings in the U.S since Newtown:


After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, President Obama promised “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.” His gun reform push, focused on a background check measure that had overwhelming public support, failed in the Senate last year, and Congress hasn’t passed any other gun legislation.

At least 74 school shootings happened during those 18 months, according to a tally by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to pass gun control laws. That’s more than one each week school was in session, with the longest gap between shootings spanning last summer’s break, from mid-June to mid-August.

The most recent shooting happened Tuesday morning at a high school east of Portland, Oregon. The gunman and a student are reported dead.



Click on the link to read Is There a Greater Tragedy than a School Tragedy?

Click on the link to read Advice for Talking With Your Kids About the Boston Marathon Attack

Click on the link to read 6 Messages For Children After a Tragedy

Click on the link to read A Teacher’s Guide to Talking to Students About the Newtown School Shooting

Click on the link to read Explaining the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to Children

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


Advice for Talking With Your Kids About the Boston Marathon Attack

April 18, 2013

martin richard dead boston marathon

Some helpful tips from


  • Turn off the TV and keep newspapers from younger children.
  • Remind them that they’re safe and that you and other adults are taking care that they stay that way.
  • Give kids something positive to do. It could be writing notes or raising money for a children’s charity or the Red Cross. Often the victims of an event are overwhelmed with gifts, so finding a national or regional group that can spread the aid is helpful.
  • Talk about the overwhelmingly positive response of the people near the bombing — regular people who ripped up their own clothes to make bandages and took stranded runners into their homes so they could make phone calls. Discuss what you as a family would do in a situation like that and how you would help.

Click on the link to read A Teacher’s Guide to Talking to Students About the Newtown School Shooting

Click on the link to read Explaining the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to Children

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


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’.

Helping Kids Cope in the Aftermath of Sandy

November 6, 2012

Courtesy of

1. Children need to be with their family and to feel safe.

Physical reassurance is a great comfort for children. You can give your child a sense of security by physically holding and reassuring them. Use simple sentences, such as, “We are all safe now” or “I will take care of you.”

If your family is in a shelter or somewhere other than home, it’s important to remain together so children feel safe and secure. Displaced children will require more physical comforting and reassurance.

2. Children regain a sense of control by talking about the disaster.

Refrain from telling your child the disaster is “nothing to be afraid of.” Instead, listen to their worries and acknowledge their feelings.

You may gently express your own concerns: “I was worried too when the lights went out” — but follow up with comforting words, such as: “But I was glad we had a flashlight.” Children need to know that their parents understand and share their worries, but it’s best to wrap up the conversation in a positive way.

Katrina, Joplin survivors offer advice to Sandy victims

3. It’s important to talk to children honestly.

At the same time, too much information can be scary and confusing to young children.

Since parents and caregivers often have their own feelings to deal with, this can be a delicate issue. Parents must distinguish between their own and their children’s feelings. It is essential that children are not burdened with the full extent of their parents’ or caregivers’ worries. Share worries in an age-appropriate way.

4. Remain as calm as possible; maintain routines as much as you can.

Adult conversations about the disaster should be reserved for after children have gone to bed or out of their earshot.

Observe usual meal and bedtime rituals, even if there is no light or water. Routines can help provide a sense of security.

If children’s schools and daycare centers are open, keep their routine. Do not keep children at home, but expect them to be more clingy and suffer from more separation anxiety.

5. Expect regressive behavior.

Children may begin sucking their thumbs, wetting the bed, and they may become afraid of being left alone. In general, regressive behaviors will go away in the days, weeks and months following the disaster.

If children’s fears or anxious behaviors persist or if children suffer from delayed reactions, parents should seek professional counseling.


Click on the link to read Explaining Hurricane Sandy To Kids

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

Explaining the Colorado Movie Theater Shooting to Children

July 22, 2012

An awful tragedy that is going to unsettle children:

Today, parents across the country are struggling with how to talk to their kids in the aftermath of a tragedy that killed and injured both adults and children. Experts generally agree that after such a tragedy, parents should keep their answers simple, leaving out dramatic details, while reassuring their children of their safety.

Below are some tips by experts in the field:

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 (in this case, going to the movies or to a show or watching certain movies or avoiding other activities that they didn’t avoid before).” — 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 ofalarming 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. Movie theaters are very safe places. Just think of all the movies you, mom and dad and everyone has gone to. Things like this really do not happen much at all.” –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 police have caught the person they think did this, and he 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 anxietyon kids because you know you don’t really know exactly what your kids are feeling until you talk to them.” –Dr. Jane Taylor, psychiatrist

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

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