The recent tragedy at VirginiaTech once again shone the spotlight on school violence. Although that tragedy garnered nationwide headlines, smaller instances of school violence do not usually make the news. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many students across the country are exposed to traumatic events at school and at home. Parents should be aware that while violence and traumatic events in the schools can cause physical injuries – such as burns, cuts, wounds, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other forms of injury – it can also cause stress and trauma, which needs to be addressed.
Minors and children exposed to school violence and other traumatic events may react with grief, sadness, and anger. Communication with loved ones may break down and students may try to isolate themselves as they deal with their emotions. Some students seem to handle the trauma very well, only to experience suffering at some later point in time. Students who have witnessed a traumatic event at school may have disturbing memories or nightmares. They may have trouble eating, sleeping, or concentrating normally and they may feel nervous or simply numb. While all these responses are normal, it is important that affected students speak with someone and get support from family or professionals.
It is helpful if victims and witnesses of a traumatic event can maintain a normal routine and take good care of themselves while recovering from a trauma. Although time will diminish some of the symptoms of stress, taking drugs or alcohol or taking part in other self-destructive activities can severely delay healing, according to the CDC.
Parents can help their children in cases of trauma. The CDC suggests that parents speak with their children after a traumatic event. While pressuring students to open up is rarely a good idea, asking questions such as “What do you think about what has happened?” or “Why do you think this may have happened?” can start a conversation that students can then direct. Parents should ask not only immediately after an event, but should follow up weeks and even months after an event has passed, to make sure that children and teens continue to cope well.
The CDC also points out that it is important for parents to keep an eye out for troubling behavior. Even relatively minor problems such as changes in eating or sleeping patterns can signal that a child or teen is having trouble coping. Sudden changes, such as the use of alcohol and drugs, need to be addressed immediately.
Talking with other parents, school officials, and health professionals is important, according to the CDC. Parents can share information and strategies and professionals can help provide important resources and help. It is important for parents to realize that having an injured or traumatized child at home is stressful for the entire family. If a parent can discuss the situation with a third party, which can often help the stress levels inside the home.
If your child or minor has suffered trauma or an injury due to school violence or some other traumatic event, you may wish to contact a qualified Florida attorney. A good Florida lawyer can help ensure that your child gets the best help possible to overcome the stress.