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Are Your Kids Worried About School Shootings?


In a recent investigative report, Education Week provides us with some startling facts on school shootings in the United States:

There have been 29 school shootings this year alone that resulted in injuries or deaths. There have been 121 school shootings since 2018. The highest number of school shootings with injuries or deaths, 34, occurred last year, 2021. Per a 2018 CNN investigation, the country with the next highest number of school shootings at that time was Mexico — with just 8.

It is no wonder that our children are experiencing significant anxiety and distress about returning to school. The worry is no longer exclusively focused on more typical areas of friendships, grades, workload, transitions, COVID, college apps, and sports. The flavor of anxiety has heightened to also revolve around death and dying, paranoia about strangers on campus and lack of security, and suspicious alienation of “odd students.”

Worse yet, it is not only the students who have been traumatized. Teachers, counselors, and administrators who have actually experienced real threats and lockdowns, with hysterical students and parents, come back to school on edge and with realistic fears of their own. One public school in San Diego had a very real threat last semester; in speaking to the school psychologist, she shared profound anxiety about continuing to work in schools and needing a mental break before returning to work. The impact of school shootings and threats of them is real, profoundly disturbing, and long-lasting for all.

Although some of us may not be in a position to decrease gun violence in the United States, it is imperative that conversations at home and in school with students are proactively and consistently established to ease students’ worries. Parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators can take several steps to better learn and understand their students’ fears, and how to best support them in these troubled times. Burdened with traumatic world events, such as wars and COVID, it is hard to expect our children to thrive, under the additional threats of school gun violence.

How to Talk to Your Kids About School Shootings

Here are some suggestions for schools and parents to facilitate and engage students in honest and reassuring conversations:


Sadly, for those who have experienced the trauma and threats of school shootings and loss, here are some resources:


School Shootings This Year: How Many and Where (2022, January 5). Education Week. Retrieved Month Day, Year from…

“The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined.” CNN.…