Trauma informed mornings: preparing for that dreadful event that could happen in a school of every kind
More help is needed to address incidents of violent gun violence in schools and we need to send a strong message to all who might put students at risk: That the unthinkable cannot become a reality. So much attention is given to identifying and helping victims in situations of tragic gun violence, but what needs to be recognized is that we as educators need to do our part to prevent traumatic events from occurring in the first place. It may seem trivial, but letting our kids know that violence has no place in the world around them can have a powerful impact on our ability to prevent such shootings from happening.
With the tragic loss of so many young lives due to gun violence over the last several years, we need to seek solutions that can prevent the intentional targeting of schoolchildren. For educators, part of that process includes developing realistic prevention and intervention strategies that are set up so that the educators, students, families, and communities are aware of possible threats to safety and those with weapons can be isolated and referred to mental health professionals. Teaching students from an early age about the realities of dangerous situations can serve as a crucial starting point in getting to school better prepared to be aware of what might go wrong on the way.
Efforts need to be made to ensure teachers and other adults can be more receptive to the development of awareness about students struggling with mental health. Social media enables students to find each other, expose themselves to pictures and videos of past events that have been the subject of school shootings and encourage destructive behavior. Educators must exercise more caution in their relationships with students who are struggling with some aspect of their personal or school life and engage in careful conversations about coping skills. These efforts can pave the way for students to have greater confidence in their ability to cope if they have survived an emergency event like a school shooting.
Any proactive measures should lead to greater security awareness from parents. While staff members at schools may act as deterrents, we as educators need to take a harder look at our role and how we can play an integral role in working with parents to reduce the likelihood of tragedies like shootings in our schools.
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