Coping with emotions after school massacre - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Coping with emotions after school massacre

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The shooting that took the lives of 26 people Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, including lives of twenty children, is having an emotional affect on people nationwide.

Bill Bond, Principal of West Paducah's Heath High School, is re-living the horror he experienced fifteen years ago this month when then, 14-year-old David Carneal, went on a shooting rampage at the school killing three and injuring five more.

"I don't know what to say to a second grader, I don't know what to say to anyone at Connecticut after this happened. I don't know what to say."

Those were Bond's words after learning of Friday's massacre. The senseless act of violence by 20-year-old Adam Lanza also brings back the nightmare for Heath survivor Missy Jenkins Smith as she describes hearing about the shooting for the first time.

"I definitely couldn't believe, you know what she was telling me and that was happening in an elementary school. It made me sick to hear that."

Dr. Terry Singer, Dean of the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville, says that even though "we're sitting in a place like Louisville, and we see the news and we see the tearful parents, you can't help but feel some sense of sorrow and wonder what's going on with our country. There's a kind of fear that sets in that things are out of control and that has a great impact on how people respond to this. There's a lot of similarities of people's reactions to 911."

Some of the biggest questions going through many of our minds today is how did this happen and why? Parents will also be facing a difficult task of answering their children's questions when they talk about the incident and ask if they're safe in their own schools.

"We often think what do I say, what are the words that will bring closure and help our kids understand this," says Singer. "But the more important quality is to be able to listen. Children have things to say, they say it in different ways, and to be looking for clues that might send a signal to parents that there's some problem there but to be a good listener and to be able to respond to that in honest ways will be (a) very helpful way to do it."

Missy Jenkins Smith also has advice. She says that to get through this we all must talk to each other about it. "If someone wants to tell you what happened or tell you the story over and over again, just listen to them."

 

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