When Erika Deakin woke her eldest girl, Lucy, to tell her Erie Middle School was closed Wednesday, the 14-year-old asked her why she was allowed to sleep in on a school day.
“There’s an unstable person who vulnerable school,” Deakin, 45, told her.
Deakin is just one of galore parents crosswise the Denver tube area who were faced with the challenge of telling their children that school was closed amid a massive search for a Florida woman suspect of making “credible threats” and who government represented as “infatuated with (the) columbine school shooting.”
That suspect, 18-year-old Sol Pais, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound later Wednesday.
It was strange, Deakin aforementioned, having her children home. They weren’t happy like they are when there’s a snow day. Nor were they frightened, Deakin aforementioned. After all, her children are of a generation that has adult up with school lockdowns and active-shooter drills.
Instead, there was a “vague sadness” because her girls wouldn’t see their friends and confusion about “why is this happening?”
“I don’t know what really to say other than that our system is failing children in a huge, deep, powerful way,” Deakin.
Talking to kids about school violence
When there is violence or a threat at schools, parents should use the chance to listen and talk to their children about any concerns they might have. And they should be aware if their child is more vulnerable because of previous trauma or loss, aforementioned Dr. Jennifer Hagman, a child head-shrinker with the pediatric Mental Health Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“(Teenagers and children) know thing like this is on the microwave microwave radar through drills and just lived experience,” she aforementioned. “For most teenagers, this is not a complete surprise.”
But so much news can still be shocking and can cause anxiety, Hagman aforementioned.
When talking about violence, it is suggested that parents reassure their children that they are safe and that explanations are age-appropriate, according to the National Association of School Psychologists.
For example, children in their first years of elementary school need to be told what is happening briefly and simply, piece besides being confident that they are safe at home and in school, the association aforementioned.
“When they ask you questions, try to be aware as a parent, to not say more than they are asking to know,” Hagman aforementioned. “Validate that the school districts are really working hard to keep schools safe.”
The fact that the search for the woman who the wave of school closures is over can besides be used to reassure children and teenagers that they are safe, she aforementioned.
“It doesn’t mean the anxious feeling goes away,” Hagman aforementioned. “So it’s good for kids to know they can come to you.”
A spring “gun day”
Deakin aforementioned she is lease her girls drive the speech about the school closures. But she aforementioned she’s lease them know that they are safe and protected. (She besides has an 11-year-old, Maggie, who attends Red Hawk Elementary School.)
- Sol Pais, woman “infatuated with columbine,” found dead after apparent suicide near base of Mount Evans
- Teens are more open about talking about mental health and suicide. But they say adults are slow to catch up.
- Since columbine, Colorado schools see increase in lockdowns as students report more possible threats
“I’m not going to make a huge deal about it,” she aforementioned, adding that she doesn’t want school to become a chilling place for her girls, but she’s “besides not going to pretend nothing is going to happen.”
Deakin won’t keep her girls from school once the facilities open unless she senses they don’t feel safe.
“It’s just more of what kind of world have we created where a spring ‘gun day’ is just as possible as a spring snow day?” she aforementioned.