23 Aug 2014
72° Rain

County Schools Prepare to Talk to Students about Mall Shooting

Staff is prepared to help students discuss the shooting, according to Superintendent Renee Foose.

County Schools Prepare to Talk to Students about Mall Shooting

Howard County Public Schools announced Sunday and Monday that staff would be prepared to discuss the Columbia Mall shooting, if students seemed upset or concerned.

"School administrators, Student Services Teams, and other staff members will have developmentally appropriate resources to use in helping children who are upset as a result of this traumatic event," wrote schools superintendent Renee Foose, in an email to parents.

The principal of Centennial High School, where 25-year-old victim Tyler Johnson attended, wrote in a letter to parents that staff shared statements with students on Monday morning and asked teachers to watch students for signs of concern.

"Many students were at the Mall in Columbia when the shooting occurred," read the statement from Centennial High, echoing similar language used in letters from other schools. "Other students have heard about this upsetting news via television or social media."

A statement from Bryant Woods Elementary School, which is less than a mile away from the mall, reported that teachers "were prepared to give developmentally appropriate responses for any child who raised questions or concerns in the classroom."

Superintendent Foose offered a variety of tips to parents about how to talk to kids about the shooting, including assuring children that they are safe, validate their feelings and reactions as normal responses to a traumatic event, and reminding older children that social media posts often contain unconfirmed information.

The school system also posted several resources for parents to read about how to talk to kids about violent events.

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