Dear Colfax Families,
With sadness and frustration, we find Colorado again at the center of national news around another school shooting. As an educator and a parent, I find the resources provided by the National Association of School Psychologists extremely helpful and grounding in these tough times. (www.nasponline.org/). Here are a few helpful tips for adults when supporting children who may be feeling worried, fearful, or confused in incidents of school violence:
- Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs.
- Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk.
- Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
- Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.
- Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy.
- Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.
- Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health.
- Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort.
Last, but certainly not least, please rest assured that we will continue to prioritize social/emotional and whole child well-being here at Colfax through normalcy in daily routines, a warm community culture, and a supportive staff. Our students’ well being is of utmost importance.
-Ms. Jenn, Assistant Principal