Children may hear about this event from a variety of sources. Our school psychologists have a few suggestions to help:
• Talk to your child about this, but consider the age and developmental level of your child as you speak.
• Ask open ended questions like, “What did you hear?” or “How are you feeling?”, so you’ll know what your child knows and what his or her concerns may be.
• Be calm when talking to your child. Your child will take cues from your reaction.
• Reassure your child that adults are there to help them.
• Maintain normal household routines, but do not minimize the incident.
• Remember that, depending on your child’s age, it may not be appropriate to have him or her watch ongoing media coverage of the event.
• If your child is having unusual difficulty handling this tragedy, please contact your school’s social worker or psychologist for help.
Compiled by MCJ Staff
Though Milwaukee is more than 1,000 miles away from Newtown, Connecticut where 27 individuals—20 of them children, including six teachers and the principal—were killed by a lone gunman, two of the city’s top school officials said the impact is more horrific because the killings took place in a school and the victims were children.
MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton and School Board President Michael Bonds were just some of the individuals in local government, community and religious organizations to express their grief at the loss of life that took place Friday, December 14.
Twenty-year old Adam Lanza, using a high-powered semi-automatic rifle, reportedly walked into the school and committed his unspeakable deed, taking the lives of children between the ages of six and seven. According to news reports, Lanza took his own life once he heard police closing in.
Thornton and Bonds encouraged parents and caring adults to be there for children who might have questions abut the incident and to help them through this difficult time.
In a letter to MPS parents that was posted on the district’s website and automated phone calls, Thornton assured them that their child’s safety “is our utmost concern. We have every reason to believe that Friday’s event is an isolated tragedy.
Thornton stressed as a precaution, all staff at all district schools have reviewed their safety plans and been reminded to stay watchful.
“We continue to review our security measures to make sure we’re taking every measure possible to protect your child,” said Thornton.
The superintendent suggested parents remind their children to tell an adult right away if they see or hear anything unusual.
Mayor Tom Barrett expressed his condolences on behalf of the city to the families and surviving victims and their families who “now face a lifetime of healing.
“As a father, I am heartbroken,” Barrett said, adding he stands with President Barrack Obama in urging the nation to come together to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like the one in Newtown “regardless of our politics.
“As a community and a nation, we cannot simply move on from today’s tragedy. Too many lives have been taken, too many families destroyed.”
On Thursday, Dec. 20 at 6p.m., Career Youth Development and Peace for Change Alliance, Inc. will hold a candle light vigil at Victory Over Violence Park, located next to CYD and Clark Streets.
“As Newton mourns their lost, they also gained 26 new angels to watch over their city,” said Tracy Dent, president of Peace for Change Alliance.
Organizers said the vigil will also address the current gun laws in Wisconsin which, in the last several years have passed laws along individuals without criminal records to carry concealed weapons and the “Castle Law,” which allow individuals to use deadly force to defend their homes against intruders.
The shootings have also sparked action. Three state legislators announced plans Tuesday to introduce new gun control laws.
During a news conference in the rotunda of city hall, three members of Milwaukee’s state legislative delegation: Rep. Fred Kessler, Representatives-Elect Mandela Barnes and Evan Goyke said they will co-introduce three pieces of legislation designed to reduce the chances of similar tragedies from ever happening again.
According to Kessler, one bill will take aim at certain types of ammunition, banning high-velocity, maximum damage bullets such as hollow-point bullets or the .223-caliber ammo used by Lanza, which; a second bill focuses on a ban on assault weapons similar to the law in California.
This law would prohibit the possession, distribution, importation, transport, sale, transfer or give away of assault weapons.
Under the proposal, pre-ban assault weapons may be grandfathered, but would require registration.
The third takes the mental health history of prospective concealed carry gun owners into consideration; requiring prospective gun owners to undergo a psychological evaluation by a Wisconsin psychologist or psychiatrist of their own choosing and receive a clean bill of mental health.