Talking with your kids about a school shooting

Posted at 7:13 PM, Feb 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-29 20:30:16-05

Four teens were injured Monday when a student opened fire at Madison Jr./Sr. High School.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones identified the shooter as 14-year-old James Austin Hancock, and authorities say he started shooting in the cafeteria.

TIMELINE: Monday's events at Madison Jr./Sr. High School

So what should parents do to when a school shooting happens? 

A WCPO 9-On Your Side Facebook fan tells us she would tell her child to make a plan of escape.



A psychologist with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center said the first thing to do when helping your child cope with the aftermath of an event like a school shooting is to start a conversation with them, addressing their fears and then normalizing their feelings.

MORE: Student gives chilling account of shootings

Then, parents should help children identify adults who they can trust, child psychologist Julie Bemerer said.

"I would run through names with teachers and all the people they know to help reassure them that they're not alone and there are adults keeping them safe out there," she said.

Schools often have safety plans for these events, and going through those with a child is beneficial. So is identifying coping skills such as relaxation, deep breathing, listening to music and doing family activities together, she said. 

"We used to be able to say, 'Oh that doesn't happen very often, or that happens far away from here,' but the fact of the matter is that's not true anymore," Bemerer explained.