Schools, counsellors assisting children with fear, grief

Justin
Justin Crann
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'Sense of normality' important following Connecticut shooting

Moose Jaw’s community officials are working in tandem to provide support and assurances to those who may be troubled by the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

“It’s not just students we have to look at, it’s the broader picture,” said Derrick Huschi, the superintendent of operations for Prairie South School Division (PSSD).

“There are probably also staff members who are upset.”

“One thing we have to do is acknowledge that this terrible thing has happened ... but we certainly don’t want to sensationalize this and create undue stress in our own lives and the lives of our children,” said Mary Lee Booth, director of child and youth services at Five Hills Health Region.

“The important thing is for adults to be a model of keeping calm and in control and remind children that they are safe,” said Huschi, who noted the PSSD has counsellors on hand for students and staff who need them.

But the difficulty in dealing with situations like these, said Booth, is that they “violate” a child’s sense of security.

“It’s hard to reconcile because children want to notice all of the things that are going right and the safety and security of our systems,” she said. “Parents (should) let them express their feelings and fears and assure them that their families and teachers and the other adults in their lives are working to keep them safe.”

Organizations: Prairie South School Division

Geographic location: Connecticut, Moose Jaw, Newtown, Conn.

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