Thoughts in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Shootings

The Question:
Many of us wonder: What is the best way to address the horrible events that happened in Sandy Hook School?

Your Thoughts:
 I can’t wait until Monday to give all my kindergartners a big hug when they walk through the door…all I keep thinking was what if it was our school…
I have wondered the same thing. even if we don’t directly address it, you know they are hearing the adults at home discussing it and will ask us questions on Monday. Friday we were told not to bring it up at all.
 I must say, my heart goes out to you all! I cannot imagine the pain to having to address this with my students. My only advice would be know who to turn your children to with the questions you can’t answer, and be as honest and age appropriate as possible.
Lisa Marie
 My principal said it best. Tell them there was an awful, horrible, bad thing that happened…but that WE are safe. Just keep telling the kids that we are safe. Let parents talk about it first and if the kids ask us questions, then be matter of fact and direct with short answers; but always come back to the fact that we are safe.
I’m a K teacher in Florida, and I don’t know how much of this my own kids will hear over the weekend. My plan is to discuss what we always discuss — our most important job is keeping them safe. We do this by practicing drills, having safety rules, and being kind. I’m hoping no one brings it up, but I will be focused on safety and love for each other so, if nothing else, we can strengthen their sense of community and safety in the classroom.
But what is a trusted source for teachers to turn to for confidential support so we can hold it together at school and provide the normalcy our students need?
As a parent, I can tell you that we are limiting what our children hear – no news stations on in the house today. I don’t want them to be afraid of their school and one is too young to understand the details. Living on the Texas gulf coast, where we regularly talk about hurricanes, he is still scared that Sandy is coming to get us based on the “end of the world as we know it” style of media coverage. This conversation here makes me realize that I need to talk to their teacher first thing Monday and make sure we are all on the same page about what my kids are hearing.
A bad guy did a bad thing….but there were many more good guys that saved the day. And because of all those wonderful people, we are all SAFE. That is the only way I can think of explaining it to my little ones if it comes up…… GOD BLESS!
 There was a counselor on our local TV that said to confirm their feelings. Yes, there was a bad guy, but he is gone. It’s okay to be sad or scared. But keep reaffirming that they are SAFE. I’m sure schools around the country will up their security drills and that is a good time to show them how we are there to keep them safe at school.
I will answer what they ask without going into detail, because many times what a Kindergartner asks is just a basic question and we adults go into more detail than they actually asked about or want to hear. I love what Lisa Marie suggested and that may be incorporated into my answer. It is a truly sad day for Kindergarten.
I agree, Jeannie. Also, Mr. Rogers’ mother told him that if he saw scary things going on or that had happened, to always look for the helpers: those people who were the good guys who came onto the scene and helped people get away or protected them from the bad guys.
I’m on maternity leave right now, but I am making it a priority to go to my school and see them this week.
 I am just outside Toronto in Canada. My kids knew about Hurricane Sandy, so I’m guessing at least some will know about this. I truly hope their parents monitor how they talk and what is on television this weekend. I will just do my best to make my kiddos feel safe and loved. I am still in shock that anyone would do this to any kids, let alone kindergarten!
My Hullabaloo
 This is a great message to teachers and has resources for talking to kids:
 The Fred Rogers company has a wonderful article on this very subject. It is perfect for teachers and parents as well.


 Lost and Found of the Ozarks is also a great resource.
Yesterday was our last day….3 week Winter Break….time to heal and reflect
 WOW!! I teach Kinders here in FL and have been wondering how to broach the topic. I think I am going to let them know that someone who had some problems decided to hurt others because of his problems and that it was wrong and that is why we talk out our problems, and that I am there to listen to them and help and will do my utmost to keep them safe!
 Are you all going to bring it up to your children on Monday? Or just if someone brings it up wait to talk about it. All good ideas about emphasizing it about how we are safe. Gah! I will try my best to hold it together, but just thinking about telling them brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know how I will talk about it while looking at those innocent faces.
I wouldn’t bring it up unless students bring it up. Routine is the most important for children.
 Counselors would be a good resource.
Tears, now, even reading about it and knowing that all your sweet hearts are feeling the same things is a comfort. I know some of mine will have heard and will ask, one in particular has the biggest heart. It breaks mine, knowing she will have heard it and will want to tell me about it Monday, is tearing me up! Her mom already emailed me, single, frightened …praying for wisdom..and ability to keep it together and simply answer and redirect and, yes, wanting to give them extra hugs when I see them…
I teach kindergarten in Oregon. We had the mall shooting two days before this. If the kids don’t know about it don’t bring it up!! Don’t incite unnecessary fear in these babies. You should also check to see if parents want their kids to know. Our last day was yesterday. I heard about it on lunch. My kids came in happy and left happy.

Even though there have been multiple school shootings the odds that it will happen are low, opening up a can of worms with them is more detrimental. 
Keep practicing your drills. If they don’t know about it, why bring it up. Leave it alone until you know that someone knows.
 I am also a kindergarten teacher. I know Monday will bring lots of questions!
 Mr. Rogers’ mom told him in a tragedy to look for the helpers. And reassure them we love them and will do everything in our power to keep them safe.
It’s not our place to tell the kids about it. I am not telling my own kindergarten son about it, and would be VERY upset if his teacher told him about it. Just my two thoughts….. On the other hand, if a kid approached me about it, I would tell that student that I would do everything I could to protect them and that they are loved and safe at our schools
I am not planning on telling my students about it, but we had a shooting at a high school in the county I worked at on the first day of school. Our superintendent made it mandatory that ALL teachers explain to their students that they were safe in our care, etc. I found this article that will help with parent and teachers who need advice or help in explaining:
Thank you to all that have offered their advice. I know Monday will be tough. I wish I could shelter my students from this, but know that since it is so close to home that it won’t be possible. I will definitely be giving extra long hugs on Monday.
I saw this in the New Republic and thought there is some value in this:

Ginna has also addressed this issue as well. I think right now if you google just about any site dealing with our little ones, there is advice or suggested websites. Our prayers to you and all of those affected. I live in Michigan and teach Kindergarten, I sat and cried last night. It could have been me, my daughter and son-in-law, my grand children. It can happen to us and that scares me to death!!!
 I liked this quote from the Fred Rogers site mentioned above about talking and listening to the child. (The link is above.) 
“Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”
I don’t know if it is our place to talk about it. If it comes up in our kinder class on Monday I am going to say that we won’t talk about it in school and send an e-mail to the parents of the kiddo and let them know the kiddo has it on their mind so they can talk as a family.
We faced something similar with my daughter, who was a second grader on 9/11 and a third grader when the DC sniper hit our community. Both times we told her that there were crazy and bad people in the world, but our job as parents was to keep her safe and we would put our lives on the line to do just that. She seemed to understand.
I disagree with the don’t tell idea. You are underestimating them..
They know about it and not having it explained in some way is WAY more frightening.
I do not think its a good idea to say, “we won’t talk about it in school.” I like simple, reassuring replies like, “Yes I did hear something very sad happened in a school far away. You are safe here and that bad person can’t hurt you. Here is how we have plans to stay safe…” then talk about fire drills, earthquake drills, etc. And then reassure them again that it is your job to keep them safe, and you plan to be very good at your job!”

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