Local students helped by counselors - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Local students helped by counselors

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Monday was the first day back to class for students around the country after the Connecticut school shooting. Some parents were on edge this morning as they sent their children back to school, but what about students?

The counselors we spoke with say most students weren't talking about the shooting, but the counselors are also being proactive letting students and parents know there is help available to cope with the tragedy. 

Michelle Haas-Nelson is the senior counselor in the Toledo School District and she was waiting for students as they arrived at Longfellow, " I stood outside this morning to get a feel, take a pulse in the building and there was not a lot of conversation about the shooting."

Haas-Nelson says the teachers actually seemed to be talking more about the tragedy than the students, "The teachers were reviewing their crisis plans, their strategies, reviewing how great the teachers in Connecticut were when they took over to help save their kids."

A letter went home with Longfellow students today, "Giving them a synopsis of what to look for at home, signs to look for, ways to get help at school if they see things are different at home."

Haas-Nelson says it is a team effort to make sure the students are coping, "We're all a community. Home and school we work together because what happens at home affects us here and vice versa. We want to keep the dialogue going."

Karen Sanders is a counselor at Nexus Academy in Toledo, a College Prep Charter High School. She says students at her school weren't talking about the shooting much either, "Reactions can sometimes come 4-6 weeks after a precipitous event."

She says the most important thing is to listen to your children, "If they don't bring it up they may be processing. Allow them to do that at their own pace and if they ask questions make sure you answer the questions they are asking, even the difficult ones."

Sanders says make sure your children know how you feel about the tragedy, "As a parent, allow them to see your reaction to see that you are hurting, you are grieving and that this is something we will get through. Grief and pain are unfortunately part of life."

Counselors say to watch your child's behavior closely after any kind of a traumatic event. If they seem to be having a tough time coping, you may want to consider the school counselor as your first stop for getting them help they may need.

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