top of page

Supporting Students Through Tragedy: Resources for Managing School Shootings

School shootings are a devastating reality that have become all too common in the United States. These tragic events can leave children and their families feeling scared, confused, and overwhelmed. It's important for parents, educators, and mental health professionals to work together to support young people in the aftermath of these incidents. In this blog post, we'll explore resources from various organizations that can help manage school shootings and support children in processing their feelings.

First, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents be open and honest with their children about tragedies like school shootings. They suggest that parents listen to their children's concerns and answer their questions in a clear and age-appropriate way. It's also important to reassure children that they are safe and that there are adults working to protect them. Parents can also limit their children's exposure to news coverage and social media posts about the shooting, as this can exacerbate anxiety and fear.

The American School Counselor Association provides resources for school counselors and educators on how to support students after a shooting. They suggest that educators be vigilant for signs of distress in students and provide opportunities for them to talk about their feelings. School counselors can also work with students individually or in groups to help them process their emotions and develop coping strategies. Additionally, educators can provide a sense of normalcy and routine by maintaining regular school schedules and activities.

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry emphasizes the importance of understanding the developmental needs of children in the aftermath of a tragedy. Younger children may have difficulty understanding what has happened and may need extra reassurance and comfort. Older children may benefit from opportunities to discuss the shooting with peers or adults they trust. It's also important to monitor children for signs of trauma, such as nightmares, changes in behavior, or withdrawal from activities they previously enjoyed.

Common Sense Media provides tips for explaining the news to children in a way that is both informative and age-appropriate. They suggest that parents start by asking their children what they already know about the event and then fill in any gaps in their knowledge. It's important to use language that is simple and direct, while also being sensitive to your child's emotional state. Parents can also help their children process their feelings by discussing the positive actions that are being taken in response to the tragedy, such as increased security measures or community outreach programs.

The Child Mind Institute offers strategies for helping children cope with frightening news. They suggest that parents encourage their children to express their feelings through art, writing, or other creative outlets. Parents can also model healthy coping strategies, such as exercise, mindfulness, or spending time with loved ones. It's important to validate children's emotions and let them know that it's normal to feel scared or upset in the aftermath of a traumatic event.

The National Association of School Psychologists emphasizes the importance of promoting compassion and acceptance in the wake of a tragedy. They suggest that educators and parents talk to children about the importance of treating others with kindness and respect, even in the face of fear and uncertainty. This can help children feel empowered and give them a sense of purpose in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Finally, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides school shooting resources for parents, educators, and mental health professionals. These resources include fact sheets, webinars, and toolkits that can help individuals understand the impact of trauma on children and develop strategies for supporting them.

In conclusion, managing school shootings requires a multifaceted approach that involves parents, educators, and mental health professionals working together to support children. By being open and honest with children, providing opportunities for them to express their feelings, and promoting compassion and acceptance, we can help children feel safe and supported in the aftermath of a tragedy.


American Academy of Pediatrics. (n.d.). Talking to children about tragedies and other news events. Retrieved from

American School Counselor Association. (n.d.). Helping students after a shooting. Retrieved from

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (2021). News and children. Retrieved from

Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Explaining the news to our kids. Retrieved from

Child Mind Institute. (2022). Helping children cope with frightening news. Retrieved from

National Association of School Psychologists. (n.d.). Promoting compassion and acceptance in crisis. Retrieved from

National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (n.d.). School shooting resources. Retrieved from

2 views0 comments
bottom of page