How to Cope With Heading Back to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

high school
Principal Thompson and his team at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS. (Photo: Facebook)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Principal Thompson and teachers went to the school’s 1200 building to pay their respects and paused for a moment of silence for 17 seconds. Photo courtesy: Principal Thompson/Facebook

South Florida psychologist, and mother of two young children, Dr. Dara Bushman is sharing her insights and advise for parents and teachers who will be heading back to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.

Dr. Bushman says that, “Similar to other disasters and tragedies each person will respond differently to returning back to school.”





Here are some words of advice to parents and to school’s staff:

Photos: Courtesy Facebook/Robin Bartleman and Stefano Pena

How do you feel about kids going back to school on Wednesday?
Although much sadness and grief will continue, it is in the best interest for kids to return to school and back to some range of regularity in their lives.

What advice do you have for parents in Parkland?
Communicate, talk, connect, and hug your kids as you tell them you love them, while sincerely listening to their fears and concerns in a supportive, strong, and considerate manner.

Photos courtesy: Facebook/Robin Bartleman and Stefano Pena

What range of emotions will students and teachers be experiencing?
The range of emotions students and teachers will be experiencing will be varied. Although physical experiences were the same there will be multiple emotional perspectives and reactions. There are no “right or wrong” feelings or any rules when or how to experience them.  Different stages of anger, sadness, denial, frustration, and disappointment will be experienced.

Is this like PTSD? 

Many may experience symptoms of PTSD. With PTSD, one’s mind reads past information from a traumatic event  as being current. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

What are the warning signs that maybe a teacher or student should not return to the school?

It is individually based when or when not teachers or students return. There are no specific guidelines that work for everyone. If a person is feeling indifferent whether to return or continue returning, that would be an indicator to seek a Rapid Resolution Therapist so the students or teacher no longer has to re-live the trauma.

If you have questions for Dr. Dara you can send them to us, or directly to Dr. Dara:

Dr. Dara Bushman, Psy.D., NBCCH, RRT