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Batavia Reacts: How to Talk to Your Kids After School Shooting in Newtown, CT

With 20 children among the 27 dead in a shooting rampage, Batavia Public Schools are suggesting ways to help your kids cope.

Batavia Public Schools and other school districts are offering resources parents can use to discuss Friday's tragic events in Newtown, CT.

At least one gunman attacked a suburban Connecticut elementary school Friday, killing an estimated 27 people, including 20 children and himself, law enforcement sources said.

Authorities on Sunday afternoon confirmed the gunman to be 20-year-old Adam Lanza of Newtown. Police also released the name of another victim, Lanza’s mother Nancy, who was discovered at the home where the two lived. Police and other law enforcement officials continue an extensive investigation in Newtown.

"Providing a safe learning environment for our students and safe working environment for our staff is something we take seriously and is our first priority," said a Batavia districtwide message released on Friday.

Geneva administrators also sent messages to parents.

"We have learned of the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut," said George Petmezas, principal of Mill Creek Elementary School, via 304 Connects. "Our hearts go out to the families of this community as they try and make sense of such a tragic situation. As principal here at Mill Creek Elementary School and a parent of a pre-schooler, I can’t even begin to imagine what this community is going through at this time. Our district and elementary staff have spent many hours these past couple years preparing for these types of emergencies. Events such as these certainly put the training and policies we have in place into perspective."

The Batavia and Geneva school districts shared the following advice from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network:

  • Limit media exposure. Limit your child’s exposure to media images and sounds of the shooting, and do not allow your very young children to see or hear any TV/radio shooting-related messages. Even if they appear to be engrossed in play, children often are aware of what you are watching on TV or listening to on the radio. What may not be upsetting to an adult may be very upsetting and confusing for a child. Limit your own exposure as well. Adults may become more distressed with nonstop exposure to media coverage of this shooting.
  • What does your child already know? Start by asking what your child/teen already has heard about the event from the media and from friends. Listen carefully; try to figure out what he or she knows or believes. As your child explains, listen for misinformation, misconceptions and underlying fears or concerns. Understand that this information will change as more facts about the event are known.
  • Gently correct inaccurate information. If your child/teen has inaccurate information or misconceptions, take time to provide the correct information in simple, clear, age-appropriate language.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions, and answer those questions directly. Your child/teen may have some difficult questions about the incident. For example, he/she may ask if it is possible that it could happen at their school; he/she is probably really asking whether it is “likely.” The concern about re-occurrence will be an issue for caregivers and children/teens alike. While it is important to discuss the likelihood of this risk, the children are also asking if they are safe.
  • Be patient. In times of stress, children/teens may have trouble with their behavior, concentration and attention. While they may not openly ask for your guidance or support, they will want it. Adolescents who are seeking increased independence may have difficulty expressing their needs. Both children and teens will need a little extra patience, care and love. (Be patient with yourself, too!)

If you or your child need additional support coping with the shooting, please do not hesitate to contact your school principal.

More on Newtown Patch:

R G December 16, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Why should our children even know about this? Unless they have been directly affected, there is no point in telling them about it.
Jon Azavedo December 16, 2012 at 06:09 PM
RG, great comment. When I was a kid, Lady of Angels school burned down in Chicago, dozens of children killed. I didn't even know about this until reading about local history. My kids didn't know about Laurie Dann until the idiot "journalist" wants to draw a parallel with this incident. Watching the news, and the "newscaters" make me cringe w/ their fake concern. "President Obama, a husband and father..." Really? So he cares more? These recommendations from school staff are plain stupid. How about this-"A nutjob stole his Mom's guns and killed people. It's wrong. He was mental. It's a tragedy. Now go out and play like kids used to, no cell phone, no video games and if someone picks on you, hit him in the nose."
Scott Hamlin December 17, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Unless your kids have no contact with a TV, radio, computer, other kids they will have been "told about it" So just stick your head in the sand and ignore your kids. Brilliant! And maybe if your kid has nightmares, trouble sleeping, etc. you can sit back and say glad I ignored the advice from schools and other experts. Good luck keeping your kid in a bubble so they will never ever hear any bad news and if someone in their class/school would die you can just tell you kid that the person is sleeping.
Jon Azavedo December 17, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Scott, you are obtuse. I love the comment about "schools and other experts." They know more about your kids than you do? Read above. YOU want to keep the kid in a bubble, trying to "explain" what happened. It's the bubble of utopia, where there is an explanation for everything, and once you understand, little johnny, bad things will never happen again. There is no explanation, it is LIFE. The world is tough and unfair. Period. And the do-gooder parents like yourself do more harm than good to a community.
Scott Hamlin December 17, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Wow! I wish I was nearly as brilliant as you are - or think you are. The world is tough and unfair. Yes, that covers all situations. So when someone close to you dies you just say - "That's tough." You have all the sentiment of a gang banger and no doubt educated to the same high level of education. If you have kids I truly feel sorry for them. To come up with a statement like there is no explanation it is LIFE speaks for itself. Perhaps when Obama care takes hold there will be an easier access for mental health care to help people like yourself.
Jon Azavedo December 17, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Scott, you will never be as brilliant as me, case in point, you want Nobamacare. You go ahead and protect Little Johnny, and then when Johnny is eaten alive when he becomes an adult, Daddy Scott can come running and blame all the bullies for his misfortune. Whiners, crybabies, excuse-makers. Please Scott, share for all what the "experts" say, how to rationalize a deranged act and how to prevent it in the future. Jail all those who are shy and withdrawn? Outlaw gun sales? Tell the teacher, tell the police? I think if this Lanza kid had been told to snap out of it rather than have been pampered by his mother the incident may have been avoided. Gosh, personal accountability and straight talk-who would've figured?
Scott Hamlin December 17, 2012 at 04:30 PM
God you are so brilliant - I can not compete with your logic. Tell the kid to snap out of it. So for people with diseases - and many mental health problems are disease related - you would suggest snap out of it. Remarkable - you have discovered the cure for so many incurable items such as cancer, Aids, flu, etc. You would say "snap out of it". I can not understand why modern science has not discovered your "secret". Perhaps because the holders of that secret are themselves institutionalized in a psychiatric facility. I am happy that you roam free to spread your brilliance. I expect your Nobel prize is forthcoming.
Jon Azavedo December 17, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Scotty, your argument is imbecilic-"many mental health problems are disease related." Did this Lanza kid get the flu last week and then go mental? I don't think so. My guess is he was borderline unstable, coddled, and then his mother used him as a sounding board for her divorce. Kid went postal, in part due to no one telling the mother to, SNAP OUT OF IT. But Scott, you would sympathize with the mother's fate, have her attend counseling sessions with a pretend life coach, and blame society. Scotty, you go ahead and "explain" to your kids the cause of the shooting-he got the flu. So, Johnny, when you get sick, go to the doctor so it doesn't turn into a mental problem. That wart on your thumb could be the start of mental impairment. And we can do this now, because Nobama will be paying for all of our doctors visits. Beam me up into your fantasy world, Scotty, where no one takes responsibility, all of life's foibles can be cured by talking to "experts" and the fact that life is tough and unfair is living in the past.
Scott Hamlin December 17, 2012 at 05:56 PM
You have an answer for everything - I am amazed. Why don't you offer your services to the families of the children and adults killed in Sandy Hook? Why waste money to help these people when YOU can straighten them out with your life is tough counseling. Try looking up sociopath and then find a mirror. "Sociopaths are people without a conscience. They don't have the normal empathy the rest of us take for granted. They don't feel affection. They don't care about others. "
Jon Azavedo December 18, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Hey Scotty, the original post was about why should our kids, Batavia kids, be counseled about this. Keep on topic please. But while you're at it, try looking up douchebag and then find a mirror. Same pic as that in the dictionary.

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