Here’s What I’ve Learned About Supporting Someone After A School Shooting


I used to be a young person when the capturing occurred at Columbine Excessive Faculty. I keep in mind considering it was a horrible, one-time occasion. For years that felt true. I used to be a instructor within the early 2000s and we did lockdown drills, however solely as a result of we apprehensive that neighborhood violence may get too near lecture rooms. Again then, I by no means thought a mass faculty capturing would occur once more.

In fact, that wasn’t the case. When Sandy Hook occurred ten years in the past, I used to be working a faculty with a toddler at house and a child on the way in which. That capturing shook me to my core. So did Parkland, 5 years in the past. Like many, I used to be outraged and needed to do something and all the pieces to make the shootings cease. And I felt like an alarm was set for at any time when a faculty capturing would lastly attain my household.

That alarm went off a number of months in the past. On October 24, my godson survived a shooting at his high school, sustaining gun wounds to his palms and face. The shooter carried an AR-15 and 600 rounds of ammunition. Regardless that academics and college students have been wounded and killed that day, the capturing barely made nationwide information.

That’s as a result of we not stay within the Columbine period. In America, faculty shootings occur on a regular basis. Since 2018, the annual variety of school shootings in the US has more than doubled. Final yr, there have been greater than 300 incidents, despite the fact that the common faculty yr is simply 180 days. As of July, guns are the number one killer of kids in the US.

Whereas the statistical threat of a faculty capturing taking place in your city and to your children stays low, it’s rapidly rising. So is the probability somebody you’re keen on shall be immediately impacted. This implies it’s essential to take into account the horrible, horrible, God-awful actuality that in the future chances are you’ll must help somebody as they reel from any such tragedy.

When my godson was shot, I bought a swift and terrible training on what survivors and their households want in these moments. Based mostly on my expertise, and the tales I’ve heard from survivors and their relations throughout the nation, I provide these do’s and don’ts for find out how to present help to a beloved one who has been affected by a faculty capturing:

1. Do discover out what occurred from others. Comply with the information and verify with folks aside from those that have been impacted.

2. Don’t share “tragedy porn.” The press saved broadcasting essentially the most salacious particulars of the capturing, together with footage of damage kids, busted home windows, and extra. These articles and movies have been shared with us and posted on social media. Be delicate to what these affected are able to see, and what is likely to be additional traumatizing.

3. Do carry meals. Like different tragic occasions, it’s onerous to seek out power to prepare dinner or get meals. We have been grateful to those that confirmed as much as the hospital and home with nourishing meals we might take pleasure in.

4. Don’t count on to remain. A college capturing is tough to speak about, particularly proper after it occurs. In case you are dropping off meals, schoolwork, or anything, don’t plan on staying. As an alternative, ship a textual content when you’re on the way in which and make the provide to remain, however provided that it is going to be useful. In any other case plan to drop and go.

5. Do ship cash. If a GoFundMe has been arrange, donate. If the one you love’s Venmo or CashApp, ship cash. Direct money helps as a result of fast bills (e.g., fuel, meals, espresso) and long-term prices (e.g., medical payments, remedy) are unknown and overwhelming.

6. Don’t gossip about how the cash ought to be spent. My godson’s GoFundMe went viral and we ended up with far more cash than anticipated. Because the greenback quantity went up, so did folks’s opinions about whether or not our household deserved the cash and the way it ought to be spent. It was vastly hurtful and short-sighted.

7. Do verify in. Ship messages to the one you love to inform them you’re interested by them. Base your be aware on stage of closeness. In case you are already shut and discuss often, ask them how they’re doing, and the way all the pieces goes. In case you are an acquaintance, restrict your outreach to a fast “considering of you” textual content or social media remark, then donate or do one thing to indicate you care.

8. Don’t count on a response. After the capturing, we had extra folks attain out than we might reply to. It was onerous to maintain observe, and I nonetheless fear that somebody did or mentioned one thing fantastic that I by no means acknowledged or thanked them for. Participating in conversations and textual content exchanges takes power and time that the one you love might not have.

9. Do attain out weeks and months after the capturing. We’re all busy and it’s simple to overlook a traumatic occasion occurred, even one as terrible as a faculty capturing. Set calendar reminders to check-in with the one you love in a number of weeks and months. The world and information cycle will transfer on rapidly, however the survivor and their household will nonetheless be coping with and therapeutic from the capturing. In the present day, I would like folks to ask how my godson and household are doing, and I’m lastly prepared to speak about what occurred.

10. Do step as much as combat, even when gun violence has by no means touched your life immediately. Let’s make this a how-to- information you’ll by no means, ever want. Be a part of an area advocacy group, sit in your faculty security committee, or donate. Survivors are sometimes the loudest voices calling for an finish to gun violence. It’s an unfair burden to hold, and one they need to by no means bear alone.

I hope you by no means want this text. I additionally suppose you may. As a mother of school-aged children, I apprehensive about these shootings earlier than. Now, I fear much more. We can’t promise our children or family members it will by no means occur to them. Till that day (which we must always work in direction of) we have to be prepared to reply in case it does.

Stephanie Malia Krauss is a mother, educator, and social employee. Her ebook “Whole Child, Whole Life: 10 Ways to Help Kids Live, Learn, and Thrive” shall be launched on Could 23. She is writer of “Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World.” To study extra about Stephanie, go to

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