School Violence

What to do if your teen encounters or witnesses a violent attack at school

by
Posted in , Apr 20, 2015

Girl sitting in school hallway. Photo: Thinkstock.

A stabbing at a nearby high school happened a few weeks after we had just finished filming the last episodes of the Today’s Girls segments.

Two of our young actors and the son of the producer of the television network were students at the high school. I was relieved to find out that they were safe, but unfortunately other teens suffered physical and emotional trauma from the attack.

It’s a topic that none of us want to think about happening to our teens, but it’s an important topic to discuss–school shootings and attacks. What do you do if your teen has encountered or witnessed a violent attack at school? How do you help her cope with the trauma that will stay with her for a long time, perhaps forever?

1)  Talk to your teen daughter about any recent school violence and attacks. Give her the opportunity to ask questions and let her share her feelings with you. Discuss her fears and correct any misinformation or rumors.

2)  Limit media exposure. In today’s world, news travels instantaneously and can overwhelm anyone by the constant 24/7 updates. Limiting the exposure will give your teen daughter time to process the event and give you the opportunity to assess how she is feeling.

3)  Be patient as your teen daughter heals from the emotional or physical trauma of a school attack. It’s normal to experience anxiety and depression after such an event. However, seek professional help if she develops persistent depression or anxiety.

4)  Discuss the high school’s safety plans with your teen daughter. Encourage her to be aware of her surroundings and to report any unusual behavior or rumors of any school violence to a trusted adult.

Cling to the power of knowledge, prayer, preparation and God’s protection as we keep our teens safe.

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3 ESV)

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