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FL Students Feel Impact of CT School Shootings

December 19, 2012

WESTON, Fla. - As details continue to emerge about the victims and the gunman in last week's Connecticut school shootings, the impact is being felt in Florida by students, parents and teachers.

Jeff Bauman, a psychologist in Weston, has been on the scene at similar incidences as a certified critical incident "debriefer" who helps counsel people through the initial trauma. Bauman says the images available on social media and television can, unfortunately, make the incident seem very close to home for children anywhere.

"Kids can experience this all the way down here in Florida, and it keeps getting repeated over and over again - because every time you see the pictures on the news, you re-experience the trauma."

Bauman suggests limiting the amount of news a child is exposed to about the shooting, based on their age, and giving them the opportunity to talk about it.

Licensed clinical social worker Laura Mutrie says it's important for children to go about their day, business as usual, even if parents and educators are choosing to take extra precautions behind the scenes.

"You want to reassure them that their school is safe, and that everybody is working to make schools even safer right now. You want to tell yourself that I'm going to be calm and reassuring; that my child feels that from me."

Another important consideration, experts say, is that children and adults sometimes have a delayed reaction to a tragedy, so Mutrie says to be prepared for feelings and emotions that may emerge as the weeks progress.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL