Like many of you this week, I am feeling a whirlwind of complicated emotions as the end of another school year approaches. I am feeling the additional distraction and heartache that comes from the recent news regarding another school shooting, this time in a Texas elementary school. There have been 27 school shootings this year. (There have been 119 school shootings since 2018, when Education Week began tracking such incidents. The highest number of shootings, 34, occurred last year. There were 10 shootings in 2020, and 24 each in 2019 and 2018.)
Teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, and community members who walk the halls of our schools and provide supports for students have every right to be tired, scared, outraged, burnt out, and any/everything else in response to this news. Know that I see you, and I am right there with you. I am finding myself distracted from the work I “should be” doing today, watching news updates, being bombarded with social media telling me how I should feel/act, and navigating my own emotions and plans for further training/resources/responses. All while being in a school, trying to complete that seemingly endless to do list, and trying to hold space for students who need adults that they can turn to for support and guidance when their hearts are heavy and emotions feel overwhelming.
Below I have included some resources that are on my mind and heart while we navigate these tragedies (specifically Texas and generally relating to the nature of crisis and grief in schools). Use any and all of these, any other great resources, and/or anything else you may need- but know that the core of the message is that you are not alone in being overwhelmed with emotions while navigating the complexities of being a human in the midst of crises and the world we are living in.
Ways to Help
When there is a national tragedy, I often feel helpless like I cannot provide a tangible way to help. Below are some ways that you can provide support to the victims in Texas and/or the community at this time.
- Donate blood – There is a national shortage of blood and a donation can help victims/hospitals with support
- Support verified fundraisers
- A fundraiser from VictimsFirst, a network of survivors and family members of those lost in past mass shootings, is collecting donations for those affected by the Texas shooting. You can donate here.
- Contacted your elected officials to share your heart and advocate for changes in legislation (see contact information below)
- How to Talk to Kids about School Shootings
- Helping Children Cope with Frightening News
- Talking to Children About Violence
- Reflections from America’s Litany of School Shootings: What to Say, What to Do
- Helping Children Deal with Tragic Events in the News
- 27 School Shootings have Happened this Year
- School Shootings this Year: How Many and When
- Gun Violence Archive
- It’s 21 Weeks Into the Year and America has Already Seen 213 Mass Shootings
Take Care of Yourself
- ‘I’ll Keep You Safe’: Teachers’ Anxiety Over School Shootings Persists Post-Columbine
- How School Shootings Have Changed The Teaching Profession
- Thoughts on pandemic and violence burnout for teachers, remembering to find the joy in the profession
- Managing your own distress in the aftermath
- Thoughts on the narrative our children/students hear about guns and gun violence
- Contact your local officials
- Contact your Senators
- Joni Ernst – (202) 224-3254 – 730 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510 – Twitter
- Chuck Grassley – (202) 224-3744 – 135 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510 – Twitter
- Mariannette Miller-Meeks – (202)-225-6576 – 1716 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 – Twitter – Website
Wondering how to refer a client for Tanager Place services? Talk with a guidance counselor at your school! We work closely to ensure students have access to all the services they may need, they are excellent at answering questions, and they can ensure that parents have the paperwork necessary for enrollment.
Written by Brianna White, LMSW, School Based Therapist at Tanager Place