In light of Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a local pediatric mental health professional is encouraging parents to maintain an open, honest environment when it comes to talking about traumatic events with their children.
“Kids still need a space where they can feel safe or loved,” Dr. Scott Moseman said. “Ignoring or not talking about the situation is not the right approach … but meeting them where they’re at is important.”
An attending physician at Laureate Psychiatric Clinic, Moseman said there is not a universal reaction among children to events such as Tuesday’s shooting at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two adults.
Uvalde, Texas, is 85 miles west of San Antonio or about 10 hours southwest of Tulsa.
“Some kids will want to talk a lot about it and you might have to tamper down their anxiety,” he said. “Meanwhile, some kids aren’t going to be too concerned. Just having the conversation with them and them knowing you’re a safe place to talk about is important.”
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However, Moseman said, it is important for parents to find a balance for their own concerns before sitting down with children in order to avoid imposing their emotions on others.
“In everything we do as parents, it is important to remember that how we react to things is absorbed by our children,” he said.
Most Tulsa-area school districts are already out for the summer. Thursday is the last day of classes for Collinsville, Jenks and Tulsa, while Friday is the last day for three TPS-authorized charter schools.
On Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for Jenks Public Schools said none of the district’s sites reported an increase in absences that day.
Meanwhile, Edison Preparatory Middle and High School was on modified lockdown for part of Wednesday morning after a threat was made against the school. It was ultimately deemed to not be credible, but campus police remained on site throughout the day.
Both Jenks Superintendent Stacey Butterfield and Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist emailed letters to parents Wednesday, reiterating resources available to families and students, including safety hotlines to report threats or suspicious activities.
“It is difficult for all of us to comprehend such catastrophic events,” Gist wrote. “As parents and family members who love our children more than life itself, we feel closely connected to the families, educators, and community members who are devastated by this loss of innocent lives in their community.
“Please know that our Tulsa Public Schools team regularly evaluates our practices and works to improve the ways in which we keep our students and teachers secure. Our safety protocols are continuously evolving to keep up with the changing world outside of our school buildings.”
Featured video: Speaking to kids about shootings at schools