High School Teachers Must Learn How To Properly Handle Emotionally Traumatized Students

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald June 22, 04:21 am

Educators can have a hard time addressing horrible events and handling emotionally traumatized students. In the classroom, high school teachers are being taught some tips on how to help emotionally traumatized pupils cope with their experiences and the horrific events they see through the media.

Mass shootings like the most recent one in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida are being discussed in high school hallways and classrooms by teachers and students alike. Benjamin Fernandez, lead school psychologist for Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, said educators should discuss what happened before a class started. But prior to that, high school teachers should try to understand the situation first, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

By understanding the issue first, teachers will be able to display composed and proper coping skills that can inspire students. Youngsters tend to model their reactions on difficult events after what adults exhibit.

Fernandez said dismissing a horrible event can make students shut down and close themselves off. Talking about it with someone else can reduce their anger and hate and inspire harmony.

Discussing Facts Is Important

Fernandez said high school teachers should stick to discussing the facts of a traumatic event. Samantha Haviland, director of counseling support services for Denver Public Schools, said teenagers are exposed to misinformation on the internet so they need the knowledge of expert adults.

Elementary school pupils, meanwhile, are still young and may be unable to comprehend what has happened yet. High school students, on the other hand, tend to feel a situation deeper.

Young people struggling with trauma display signs like nightmares, sleeping difficulties and changes in eating habits, Emporia Gazette listed. They also have recurring fears about another traumatic event happening.

Educators also need to take students' beliefs, cultures and family dynamics into account when discussing traumatic events. Aside from teachers, parents, school counselors and administrators should also join discussions about horrible situations.

Placating Teenagers' Fears

After a traumatic event, high school students feel fear, sadness, curiosity and concern about a similar situation happening in their community, Live 5 News reported. For instance, some teenagers are worried about going to a party and a person starts shooting people.

Dr. Martha Durham of North Main Counseling said parents and educators are responsible for placating those fears. Telling teens that bad things will not happen to them is wrong because that isn't guaranteed. Instead, adults should come up with "the ways we make it less likely and if it does happen here's how we get help and you really highlight the people helping each other," the news outlet added.

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