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Students may be anxious upon return to school
Oct 10, 2006 12:00 am
Bombarded by media coverage of three tragic school shootings within 10 days, area students may feel antsy and scared when they return to school after break.
This is only natural and parents can help ease the apprehension, according to youth ministry specialist Lane Palmer. Palmer works with Dare2Share, which is a non-profit resource ministry for teens out of Denver, Colo. He's all too familiar with counseling children in the wake of such tragedies. Palmer was on the scene at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in 1999.
He counseled many of those pupils and others students who watched coverage of that tragedy in subsequent days. Lane said Wilson County students who watch the latest media coverage on the recent shootings are transported to the scene via the airwaves. They may wonder if they will be victims in their schools, he said.
"The most important thing parents can do is let their children process all the information with them," he said. "You have to let them explore their feelings."
One thing parents and teachers should not do is tell children such things as it can never happen to them. He noted children know this is not true.
"But, parents need to say that is is highly unlikely they will ever be exposed to what they've seen happen to these students," he said. "It's important to get across to children their community is totally focused on their safety and doing things to keep them safe at all times."
If parents can shield their children for repetitive exposure on the incidents, this may relieve some of their stress. Also, parents are advised to watch for signs of stress in their children, such as headaches and excessive worry.
"If you see that your child is getting physical symptoms and is constantly worried, sit them down and ask them to explain what they are feeling," Lane said.
"Ask them to use adjectives to describe how they are feeling and let them lead you in the conversation. Just continually reassure them there are efforts to protect them on every level."
If stress over the recent shootings continues to manifest in physical form, parents should contact a professional.
Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 754-6397 or by email at email@example.com