Two children were confirmed dead today by the Mason County Sheriff’s Department in a shooting in Belfair that left the gunman and two other people dead.
The home where the shooting occurred was nowhere near schools in North Mason School District and school continued without interruption. Inevitably, however, the whole community will be affected.
North Mason School District Superintendent Dana Rosenbach posted the following message, copied below in full, on the district’s website.
Take care. Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun
“Today has been a tragic day
Today has been a tragic day and we are all affected by the great
loss. As parents you may want to talk to your children about
today’s tragedies and their impact. Witnessing or even hearing of a
traumatic incident may affect a child or adult in a variety of
ways. Therefore, it is very important that children be given ample
opportunities to ask questions and to talk about their reactions to
the incidents. Currently children may also have concerns about
their safety and security and consequently may need reassurance.
Over the next two days, you may find your children need to discuss
their questions and concerns with you. For that reason, we are
providing the information at the end of this message.
Over the weekend, or at any time, you may access the Lewis/Mason Crime Victim Service Center at 1-888-288-9221 for 24 hour help in dealing with trauma. In addition, you can get more support at the National Traumatic Stress Network (http://nctsnet.org/).
For children, Dana Rosenbach
North Mason School District Superintendent
When reacting to a traumatic incident, a child may display
behaviors such as the following:
• Clings close to adults
• Displays regressive behaviors (acting like a much younger child)
• Repetitively reenacts the event in play activities
• Appears not to be affected
• Thinks about it privately
• Asks a lot of questions
• Appears frightened
• Appears agitated and angry
• Appears sad and withdrawn
• Displays difficulty sleeping
• Stomach aches and somatic complaints
It is very important that you take the time to listen to your children. If they seem to need to talk, answer their questions simply, honestly and possibly over and over again. Below are some suggestions that parents may find useful in helping your child deal with the present events:
• Assure fearful children that you will be there to take care of them. Reassure them many times.
• Provide physical closeness. Spend extra time putting your child back to bed. Talk and offer reassurance.
• Encourage children to ask questions and to discuss, write or draw their feelings.
• Be a good listener. Listen carefully for any misconceptions or distortions the student may have regarding what happened.
• Talk with your child and provide simple, accurate information to questions.
• Provide play and fun experiences to relieve tension.
• Help the child develop safety plans and procedures (“What should you do if….?”)
• Remind them of concrete examples of where they are being protected and cared for by parents, adults, teachers, police, etc.
• Make sure the child gets rest and exercise.
– See more at: http://www.nmsd.wednet.edu/News/112#sthash.uggv8Yop.dpuf”