We are saddened and shocked by another school shooting. Senseless violence. Our own killing our own. Displaced anger. Mis-managed grief.
We live in a time when our schools must address the issues of grief. Today, with our condolences to the families and schools in Ohio, I will share an excerpt from our publication: Crisis, Grief, and Loss...and How to Help Your Students Through It.
In times of crisis, when nothing can be done to change the horrible facts, schools must:
Encourage academics. Do not ignore the crisis; but keep students focused on academics. Academics is our job.
Encourage options. Allow flexibility in your projects. Written assignments, for example, may deal with reactions to the crisis at hand and parallels between your topic, our current crisis, and our students’ personal experiences.
Encourage hope. The human spirit is incredibly and wonderfully resilient. We hurt; we’re angry; we’re afraid. But we will overcome!
Encourage help. Allow your classes to write letters to the families of the deceased. Allow projects that provide food, clothing, and shelter for victims. Endorse related humanitarian projects such as helping at a food kitchen.
Encourage healing. Allow students to talk and write about their emotions. Also allow them to periodically ignore what has happened and focus on their passion.
Encourage health. Use the crisis as an incentive to increase substance abuse prevention programs. Use your study skills curriculum to help them channel and deal with anger constructively.
Encourage truth. Keep students informed and squelch the rumor mill. Keep obsessions with the gory details to a minimum, but tell the truth. We have a huge capacity to imagine horror scenarios when we don’t know what is happening. We also have a huge capacity to deal with what is real in creative, constructive ways.