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Spokane School District Offers Advice for Dealing with School Shooting

The Spokane School District is taking actions to make sure students feel safe, and know they have the opportunity to discuss their feelings and concerns over the deadly shooting at Freeman High School Wednesday.

Chris Moore, the district’s Coordinator for Student Services, says all school counselors are planning to have a major presence on campus the next few days:                          

“We want all counselors to be out in the hallways, visible in the common areas, the cafeteria, outside classroom doors, we want them visible all day, to be able to keep a pulse on student needs and be there to provide a sense of safety and to be able to respond to student needs if they need support.”

Moore says students feelings are all over the map as far as the shooting is concerned, and parents need to pay attention to signs in their children that they may have been severely impacted by the Freeman events:

“It’s going to be across the continuum from gosh it’s fine it doesn’t impact me at all to students that are going to be highly impacted and emotional and almost paralyzed by their fear, so we as adults need to not judge but to provide support to meet kids where they are. And if they’re not displaying behaviors that their impacted that’s OK, and if they’re overly emotional that’s OK. We need to not judge our students and our kids and we need to meet them where they and provide them that support and that love and that kindness and compassion.”

Moore says it’s important that parents are able to emphasize the positive:

“Assure your child that the world and schools are a safe place. This was a unique tragedy. This has never occurred in our area before. It’s very unique, it’s absolutely tragic, but you need to know that schools are a safe place, you have safe people in schools.”

Chris Moore adds that the advent of social media can also be helpful for both students and parents to determine if there might be a student who is contemplating a violent act, thus allowing time for the school and counselors to intervene:

“Our students are posting things on line 24/7, on Snapchat, IM, Facebook, and so we need to message out to students and families, and community, because it does take a village, that if you see anything concerning, take it to the school, take it to a parent, take it to a trusted adult.”

The coordinator for student services from the Spokane School District says officials have received tips from people about social media in the past, and have had councilors step in. She believes such efforts could be expanded by establishing more lines of communication between families, the schools, and community organizations.