How to talk to kids about the Las Vegas shooting

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers stand near an ambulance as medical personnel treat a person in the parking lot of the Hooters Casino Hotel after a mass shooting at a country music festival nearby on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, school districts like Eanes ISD in Austin are supporting students who may have questions or concerns about the events. For staff at Bridge Point Elementary School, the news hit close to home.

Eanes ISD said a staff member was at the concert where a gunman opened fire. She is safe and home with family, according to Superintendent Tom Leonard.

“The tragedy in Las Vegas has touched every person in some way; the images are inescapable,” Leonard wrote in a letter to staff and parents. “While we are incredibly thankful our teacher was unharmed, events such as the one in Las Vegas are reminders of how strong our community can be in times of crisis.”

Every school in Eanes ISD has counselors available to talk with students. Parents can also take steps to discuss the tragedy with their children.

Dr. Kim Kjome is a psychiatrist at Seton. She recommends parents be proactive, and assume their children have heard about tragedies.

“They may have some fears or feelings that they haven’t expressed, so it might be just nice to be neutral and say ‘Hey, there was some bad stuff that happened today. I was wondering if you heard about it,’ and then leave that door open for them to talk about their emotions more and then kind of explore that with them,” Kjome said.

She says how to discuss tragedies with children depends on how old they are. Kjome said around age 9 is when children start understanding the full consequences of an event, and not just the fact that people are sad or upset. Talking about what happened can help children of all ages process a tragedy and learn about healthy ways to respond to it.

 

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