School shootings have become an almost common occurrence, unfortunately, and your child or students with special needs may be more affected by this modern-day phenomenon than you know. These violent acts of violence against children occur infrequently, but may have a great impact on children of all abilities.
1. Children's fear of being attacked violently is heightened by the continuous news loop about these incidents. Guard your child's emotions by limiting views of broadcast television with the repeated stories about these incidents when they occur. Encourage your child at home to watch a favorite DVD instead.
2. When children are harmed, it is important for parents to make their children feel safe and protected. Often young children and children with special needs will act out when frightened because they do not know how to express their fears. Parent should be attentive to their needs and do everything possible to assure them that they are safe and protected from danger.
3. In school, when these violent acts occur, children may bring them up and want to talk about them. Take advantage of these opportunities to reassure children in your care. Some schools have assemblies after such incidents to assist children with acknowledging and facing their fears and to provide them with a sense of community and safety.
4. Many schools also now have in place evacuation plans in the event of a school shooting. The teachers and staff in the two most recent school shootings at Sandy Hook and in DeKalb County, Georgia followed these evacuation plans, saving many lives and reassuring students and families that children are safe in school.
5. Talk to your children about the school bookkeeper who remained calm during the potential school shooting in Georgia. Use Antoinette Tuff as an example of how to behave when there is a threat of danger. Go through all of the steps she demonstrated: connecting with the shooter by asking him questions and listening to him; telling him about her own struggles; urging him to give himself up; and remaining with him to reassure and comfort him. Children may not be able to do all of these things in such an incident, but if they will just remember to remain calm, they will have a better chance of survival.