The fallout of Tuesday’s shooting at Roosevelt High School will have an impact on nearly everyone in the community.
Experts say that young people close to this kind of situation can be traumatized. How the people around them react can make all the difference.
“Getting children back into the familiarity of that routine offers them a sense of safety and security because the trauma of something like this throws you out of your normal experience,” said Dr. Suzanne Gelb, psychologist.
How should parents react in these situations? It might be best not overload them with information.
“But I would ask them some questions first. I wouldn’t overburden them with a ton of information. I would ask them, ‘How do you feel? What did you see? What did you know? What are you thinking?'” Dr. Gelb said.
In addition to the trauma to young people in these circumstances, law enforcement officers also face their own questions — did I do the right thing? A decision often must be made in a fraction of a second.
“Use of force is an escalation and only in dire circumstances is there serious bodily injury to yourself or another or death, which justifies the use of force,” said Roger Strecker, police behaviorist.
Following such an incident, law enforcement officers may also need counseling.
“They really need some space and time to do some self-reflection and it is an episodic memory, which is going to be with them their entire career and arguably their entire life,” Strecker said.
Anyone involved in such an incident will react differently, including the students.
“Every child is different. And so it depends on their frame of reference,” Dr. Gelb said.
Both our experts emphasized people involved in incidents such as this need time and space to process what happened. It’s best to be there for them when they need you, and let them know it’s ok to turn to the professionals if the need.