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  How teachers can help
  • Listen and connect to students. Students are most comfortable with the adults they know and will look to them as a source of support. Let them know you are there for them. Encourage them to express their feelings.

  • Help students be empathetic. Encourage creation of cards, letters and drawings to express sympathy to victims and thanks to first responders and donors.

  • Refer. Teachers are not expected to provide counseling. Refer students to mental health professionals.

  • Reassure students that they are in a safe place and tell them how the school is working on safety issues.

  • Monitor behavior. Know the signs of children at-risk and get help for those who need it. Communicate concerns to parents and mental health professionals.

  • Maintain consistency and predictability. Routines are comforting to students during times of crisis.

  • Understand cultural differences. It is not only language, but also culture that may affect how students react to trauma and death. Different cultures have unique beliefs about crisis, death and burial practices. Grieving and memorial practices also vary by culture. The National Association of School Psychologists has a Web page about cultural issues and trauma: click here.

  • Take care of your own needs. It’s OK to ask for support. Take a break if you need to get away. Take advantage of the Employee Assistance Program, if available, or district or community mental health counselors. Talk to your affiliate representative about your personal needs.

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