Resources for Helping Children Deal with Traumatic Events

A Message to Parents from Superintendent Dr. Bill Link

 District 108 joins our community and the rest of the nation in mourning the tragic events that occurred December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and all of those impacted.

We consider the safety and security of our students as a top priority. The district works closely with the Pekin Police Department, Fire Department, County, State, and other local agencies in the development of our school security plans and crisis response procedures. We also continue to upgrade and modernize our security technologies at each school.

While random acts of violence are not predictable, having plans in place to avert or respond to a crisis is a vital part of our mission.  It is our goal is to provide an inviting school environment, while at the same time maintaining safety and security.

 We understand that such tragedies can create anxiety and concern for both parents and children. While it is difficult to understand or explain such violent actions, we ask for your support in providing your children with reassurances and encouragement. Please know that our staff and counselors are always available to offer support and to provide guidance on how to deal with these difficult situations. 

You will find several documents from related professional organizations posted on this section of our district web site that you may find as helpful resources.

If you feel your child will need additional support do not hesitate to contact your child's school.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Dr. Bill Link

Superintendent of Schools

Pekin Public Schools District 108

 

Below is list of tips for parents offered by the Illinois Association of Schools Administrators:

 

  • Limit your child's exposure to media images and sounds of the shooting, and do not allow your very young children to see or hear any TV/radio shooting-related messages. Even if they appear to be engrossed in play, children often are aware of what you are watching on TV or listening to on the radio. What may not be upsetting to an adult may be very upsetting and confusing for a child. Limit your own exposure as well.  Adults may become more distressed with nonstop exposure to media coverage of this shooting. 
  • What does your child already know? Start by asking what your child/teen already has heard about the event from the media and from friends. Listen carefully; try to figure out what he or she knows or believes. As your child explains, listen for misinformation, misconceptions, and underlying fears or concerns. Understand that this information will change as more facts about the event are known.
  • Gently correct inaccurate information. If your child/teen has inaccurate information or misconceptions, take time to provide the correct information in simple, clear, age-appropriate language.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions, and answer those questions directly. Your child/teen may have some difficult questions about the incident. For example, he/she may ask if it is possible that it could happen at their school; he/she is probably really asking whether it is "likely." The concern about re-occurrence will be an issue for caregivers and children/teens alike. While it is important to discuss the likelihood of this risk, he/she is also asking if he/she is safe.
  • Be patient. In times of stress, children/teens may have trouble with their behavior, concentration, and attention. While they may not openly ask for your guidance or support, they will want it. Adolescents who are seeking increased independence may have difficulty expressing their needs. Both children and teens will need a little extra patience, care, and love. (Be patient with yourself, too!)

 


Resourses for Helping Children Deal with Traumatic Events

A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope - National Association of School Psychologists

Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event - SAMSHA