MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Twenty-four hours after a shooting at a Memphis school, there’s concern about the long-term emotional impact gun violence will have on children.
Police say a 13-year-old boy was shot by another student at Cummings K-8 school Thursday morning.
“I know this was a very terrifying experience whether you have a child that attends Cummings School or someplace else within Shelby County Schools,” Board of Education member Michelle McKissack said.
Investigators say there were no other students nearby when those shots were fired. SCS says that was a factor in their decision to resume classes today.
But Dr. Eraina Schauss, director of The Brain Center at the University of Memphis, says, “Even though people might not have witnessed exactly what happened they know about what’s happened.”
Those discussions are likely leading to a lot of fear and uncertainty among children right now. SCS says helping students address that is part of the reason the doors of the school re-opened today.
“Certainly when we talk about trauma response and social emotional learning there is an aspect of teaching children how to cope with their feelings, and that is what’s so important for students to be back in the classroom today,” said Jerica Phillips with Shelby County Schools.
Doctors say it will be extremely important in the days and weeks to come to keep those spaces of communication open at school, home and in the community.
“Instead of saying ‘don’t think about that, don’t talk about that,'” Schauss said. “I think people think the more you talk about it, the more you might get a stress response. It’s actually the other way. The more you talk about things, the more you’re able to overcome that stress response.”
Counselors say you should also keep an eye on physical changes in your child’s appetite or sleep pattern during this time.
Le Bonheur offers counseling and mental health services. You can call (901) 287-7337 for assistance.