Chardon, Ohio is only 60 miles away from where I live. And, this morning, while monitoring facebook and twitter, I learned that there was a shooting at the high school there. Over the next few hours, I saw that national press picked up the story, and for me, memories of Columbine and Virginia Tech started to go through my mind.
Of course, throughout the day, the press was focusing on the one fatality and the others who were injured in the shooting. Then, they would talk about the shooter. And, then the blame game stories would begin. Could this have been prevented? Are public schools safe enough? Do we need more gun control laws? How can we better prevent bullying in the schools?
Only seldom were there stories about the counseling that is needed for the kids, parents, and the community. I'm glad that they announced that they were having counselors at the school today, tomorrow, and for the rest of the week. The governor's statement is in the video above.
I refreshed my memory about the condition called "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." Especially in the pediatric age group, these memories will linger for a long time - long past when the TV cameras are gone, and long past when this community drops out of the national news. There are many great sources of information, but according to this WebMD article, here are key symptoms to look out for:
- Flashbacks: Often times, people will re-live the events of today again and again.
- Emotional Detachment: People may tend to avoid activities, friends, and places - especially associated with the traumatic event
- Jumpiness: A sudden noise may startle someone. Or someone may overreact to a seemingly simple situation. Or people may start to have trouble sleeping
Key to treatment, especially of children, is to give them the opportunity to express what their feeling, whether it be through talking or drawing pictures or writing. Anything to get those confused emotions out and not have them bottled up.
So, as the press is trying to get their ratings, sell their newspapers, and get hits on their website, they will probably forget about those students, those parents, and the community who has been emotionally scarred by this tragedy. Don't forget about them, because they will be the ones to bring Chardon, Ohio back...