Local schools are preparing for Monday as students return to class with possible questions about the massacre on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Tulsa Public Schools Student Services Coordinator Tenna Whitsel has provided counselors in each school with notes to go over for Monday.
“We put routine back in; our crisis response is to get things back to normal as soon as possible,” said Whitsel. “We will rely on teachers to speak up if a student seems to behaving a hard time because they know their students best. Being alert and being calm. It’s important for moms and dads and us to be calm. Students are looking at us as models, so we need to show we have it all under control and we are safe.”
Whitsel talked about ways to move forward by reaching out to the Newtown community.
“Finding ways for children to emote, journaling, drawing pictures, sending letters; boys tend to share better while they are moving, if you have son, take a walk around the block.”
A local bereavement counselor, Ken Bachelor, echoed every step Whitsel said the TPS schools were going to do come Monday. Both of them said to monitor media outlets over the weekend and through the next several days. They said taking a break away from the traumatic news and not keeping children engrossed in the painful details will help them move forward.
“Reassure them you are safe, this is where we are today, your safe and I am always going to love you,” said Whitsel.
On Monday TPS and Tulsa city leaders will hold a joint press conference to discuss security at TPS schools and a heightened police force.