Monday, December 31st, 2012
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, we all struggle to figure out how we can try to prevent further rampages, particularly (but not exclusively) in schools. There are 4 topics which are receiving the most attention – and will be the center of many debates in 2013. Starting on January 2nd, I will take these on, from the lens of public health – meaning I will examine each in terms of the potential of making life safer for kids in school. The topics are:
Mental Health: One viewpoint is that increases in mental health awareness, improvements in diagnosis, and reducing barriers to treatment will be key in preventing further mass murders. While there is clearly a need to invest in mental health in our country, how central should mental health issues be in the debates following the Sandy Hook shooting? Is mental health the fundamental concern – or is it getting overplayed in lieu of taking on ….
Gun Regulation: Another viewpoint is that our primary objective should be immediate increases in gun regulation as the fundamental way of preventing future tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting. The argument here is that the type of weapons that are available in this country facilitate the rapid execution of many youth. Those who disagree argue that mental health issues trump the access of firearms. So, from the public health perspective, is there an answer to be found?
School Safety: One thing is certain – we all feel the need to make our schools safer. Some schools in the country already had armed personnel in place prior to the Sandy Hook shooting. Should all schools do this? As a parent, would you feel better, or worse, seeing armed guards at your kid’s school? And what impact might this have on the kids themselves?
Violent Video Games: Still on the radar is the issue of violent video games. Do they really make individuals more violent? Should they be banned? What is the scientific evidence?
First up: the Mental Health debate on January 2, 2013.
Blackboard via Shutterstock.com
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Monday, December 17th, 2012
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, we rightfully consider how we should talk to our kids, and help them feel safe and secure as they get back to their school routines this week. But what about us parents?
I would think that nearly every parent had a knot in their stomach as they prepared to send their kids off to school today. This tragedy has upped our anxiety as parents for a number of reasons, including:
- Sandy Hook Elementary had a stringent security system in place – making us feel powerless.
- This particular shooting has additional gravity because of the age of the kids involved, as it reinforces how vulnerable our kids are out in the world.
- In the aftermath of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora, this rampage may end up representing a tipping point for parents, in which we begin to think that these horrific tragedies involving youths (and adults) are not as rare as we’d like to believe.
So how do we go back to our typical day today? The biggest thing I have to latch onto is the extraordinary bravery shown by the teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary. As we hear more about their quick thinking and actions, it reminds us that teachers don’t treat teaching like it’s just a job. They feel responsible for the kids under their care. Even more than that, they will put themselves in harm’s way, and even give their life for your child. That’s a pretty powerful thing to think about.
It may also help you to talk to someone at your kid’s school. Many schools will be sending out communications. Vigilance will be extraordinary. Reassuring yourself that your school is reviewing their security policies and their action plans will help you reduce your anxiety some.
Look, this latest tragedy is going to hurt for a long, long time. Parents are going to be anxious for a long time as well. But knowing that your teachers and administrators treat your kids like they are their own kids can at least help us take a deep breath when our kids are in school.
For information and resources on dealing with the tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:
Child Getting On A School Bus via Shutterstock.com
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Health, Kids Health, Newtown shooting, Parent Anxiety, Sandy Hook, Teachers | Categories:
Behavior, Health, Must Read, Parenting, Red-Hot Parenting, Stories