Crisis Response Resources

  • Children often look to parents and educators for understanding and guidance following a traumatic school or community event. The following offers a compilation of strategies and important points to consider when discussing a tragedy or crisis with children.  

    • Make time to talk. Let the children's questions be the guide as to how much information is provided.

    •  Reassure children that they are safe and schools are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all children and staff.

    • Elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.

    • Middle school children may be more vocal in asking questions about whether they are truly safe and what is being done at their respective schools. They may need assistance separating reality from imagination. Discuss the efforts of school and community leaders who work to provide safe environments.

    • High school students may have strongly varying opinions about the cause of violence in schools and society. Emphasize the role and support that students can offer in maintaining safe schools.

    • Validate emotions. Explain that all feelings are understandable when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about and express their feelings. Help put emotions into perspective and assist children in sharing their feelings appropriately.

    • As staff review safety procedures in schools, parents are encouraged to address procedures and safeguards at home.

    • If the crisis directly involves your students, encourage them to share any information they may have related to the event. "See something, say something."

    Additional Resources:
    Helping Children Cope with Trauma (PDF)
    Monitoring Children's News Exposure (PDF)
    Facing Trauma Together (PDF)