Starting The New School Year 6 Months After the Parkland Tragedy

Photo by Andi Phillips

As students begin a new school year,  there are varying degrees of excitement and trepidation.  Children have different perceptions of what a new school year means to them.

For some,  they carry the worries and experiences of previous years, while others embrace a new start.

Many students have been forever impacted by the events of February 14th, 2018.  The magnitude of this devastation is like wildfire in a forest. Students were affected near and far with severe loss and sadness. Each person will cope and heal at their own pace. What is for sure, and all students have in common, is that nothing will ever be the same.

Students across the country are left with fear.  Fear of future re-occurrences of violence.  Fear that if they stop grieving,  memories will be forgotten. Fear if grieving stops it means they did not love the people who died, enough.

Parents are experiencing a new kind of fear too. Fear to smother their children and fearful not to protect them enough. Pre-school kids are doing active shooter drills and asking very mature questions.

Social media has created a constant media cycle with 24 hour live coverage and constant re-stimulation of unsettling events and feelings.

Technology is creating a lack of human connection and implementing bias views and stripping people of the ability to conceptualize and draw their own conclusions and solutions, as creativity and problem-solving development is being stumped.

It’s  critical for parents, teachers and leaders to continue to maintain balance and always maintain open communication.

Tips to increase connection and communication.  

1. Together with your kids, have a discussion of how you would like the school year to be

  • Include realistic goals
  • Map out an ideal schedule (school tasks vs. down time)
  • Make a list of daily and weekly priorities with your children

2. Collaborate how you want the school year to be optimal and successful

  • Create a visualization together enjoying family time and fun activities
  • Be patient as your family acclimates to new routines

3. Set limits on cell phone usage and social media

  • Only establish guidelines if you can enforce them!
  • Acknowledge behavior when guidelines are adhered to

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