Fredericksburg Parent

May 2018

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12 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • May 2018 " Electronic warning signs with "See Something, Say Something" and "Report Suspicious Behavior" are becoming as common on school grounds as football fields and yellow buses. With school shootings in sleepy towns like Newtown, Connecticut; Great Mills, Maryland; and Parkland, Florida, kids are faced with the fact that tragedy strikes the young and innocent in what they once thought were safe places. Since it's hard to reas- sure kids struggling to understand these traumatic events, we asked experts for advice. Detective K. DiGravio, of the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office Child Victims Unit, says inves- tigators are trained in forensic interviewing. This makes gathering information from a child as non-traumatic as possible. "Many times, parents had trauma in their childhood," says DiGravio. "When their child faces a traumatic situation, sometimes they aren't equipped to deal with their child's trauma." She advises parents to seek counseling for their child, even if they object. "The child doesn't understand what long-term effects trauma may cause. It's important for him to see a professional to make the determination of whether he could benefit from therapy," she adds. DiGravio says kids need to know they're not alone. Since March's shootings, kids have commented about being anxious, and one child said it's not safe anywhere you go. Sadly, kids are accepting this type of violence as the norm. "It's important to let the child know he has every right to feel the way he does," she says. "If he sees or hears something that bothers him, he should tell his parents, the School Resource Officer (SRO) or another responsible adult." Navigating Kids Through Traumatic Events Many times, parents had trauma in their childhood... sometimes they aren't equipped to deal with their child's trauma." WRITTEN BY LENORA KRUK-MULLANAPHY

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