Posts Tagged ‘paris attack’

The Overwhelming Job of Paris’ Teachers

November 16, 2015

Children and adults lay flowers and light candles at a shift memorial along a police cordon set-up close to the Bataclan concert hall on November 15, 2015 in Paris, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris on November 13. Islamic State jihadists claimed a series of coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more in scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium.  AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA        (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

As much as we hope that parents will take a lead role in comforting fragile French kids in the aftermath of the Paris tragedy, you can bet much will be left to their school teachers.

Nothing prepares you for the kind of discussions these teachers will be asked to moderate and it’s an unenviable position they have in restoring calmness and clarity to fearful children:


On Jan. 7, 2015, there was suffocating alarm, horror and fear in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. The next day, wounds still fresh, it was necessary to keep going. It was a difficult day for schoolteachers in France, faced with students and their questions, and at times their anger.

On Monday, Nov. 16, there will be a similar challenge.

HuffPost France asked teachers and school principals about their expectations for the first school week after Friday’s Paris attacks and the messages they hoped to send to the students.

“This Monday, I’ll start my day with a 12th-grade literature class. It’s a class that I’m close to, especially since I already lived through the attacks of last January with them,” said Marie-Sandrine, a high school teacher. “I end my morning with a 10th-grade class that lasts till 12:20 p.m.”

On Sunday, the teacher noticed that discussions were already underway in online teachers’ forums, on social networks and over the phone. “The atmosphere is very different from the day after the attack on Charlie Hebdo,” she said. “In her address, the minister of education thanked us for our professionalism. She has given us resources to tackle the topic in class. From now on, it will be important to talk about a ‘minute of contemplation’ rather than a ‘minute of silence.'”

Marie-Sandrine said that she’s received emails and messages from students and former students, asking if she is safe and well. “They needed to be comforted,” she said.

“On Monday, I’m going to try to welcome their thoughts with an open mind. ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ That’s how I’ll start. I’m not afraid of their hostile reactions because unlike January, I know that nobody can say, ‘They were asking for it.’ I’m more afraid of the state of panic, of fear, or an absence of lightness. Some students who got in contact with me have told me, ‘Miss, I’m scared.'”

“Teenagers aren’t conscious of the fact that they could die. They don’t think about it like adults do. I’ll tell them that death is part of life,” she said. “I’d also like to teach them how to tell the difference between news and rumors. Finally, I’d like to encourage them to think about how we can take care of each other. If all of that is too heavy, we’ll stop, and I’ll have them listen to the song ‘My France’ by Jean Ferrat, and then we’ll go on with class.”



Click on the link to read Explaining the Paris Tragedy to Young Children

Click on the link to read Some Kids Are So Brave! (Video)

Click on the link to read Guess What This Map Represents

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

Explaining the Paris Tragedy to Young Children

November 15, 2015



How on earth do you explain the tragedy that took place in Paris to young 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


Click on the link to read Some Kids Are So Brave! (Video)

Click on the link to read Guess What This Map Represents

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

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