NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia – As the community struggles to accept the incident, News 3 reporter Kelsey Jones speaks with mental health experts about how to deal with this school shooting. Did.
Parents at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News are dealing with chaos after police said a 6-year-old shot a teacher in a classroom. I’m trying to find the right way to talk to my child.
“The ways a 6-year-old can acquire weapons and firearms, much less use them, is overwhelming,” said Joy McManus, chapter leader of Mom’s Demand Action.
McManus is a mother and teacher who is still racking her brain over this tragic situation.
“This one in particular feels so close to home. I’m finding it very difficult right now to come to terms with the fact that the youngest student is involved in gun violence.
On Friday, the unimaginable happened at Richneck Elementary School. Police say a six-year-old student shot schoolteacher Abby Zwarner. Police said the student was in custody.
News 3 learned from police on Saturday afternoon that Zwerner’s condition was stable. This situation has led mental health professionals to consider the psychological effects that shootings can have on students and staff.
“School-aged children, in particular, process trauma differently than adults. Dr. Sarah Williams, a psychotherapist, said:
Reporter Kelsey Jones asked Dr. Williams, “Can a six-year-old understand the severity of this shooting?”
“I find it very difficult professionally to think that this child can truly handle the gravity of his actions without seeing him,” said Dr. Williams.
Dr. Williams said the shooting involving a six-year-old was a unique one. She encourages her parents to share their feelings with her children.
“It’s not surprising that the effects of this trauma can take months or years to really subside,” Dr. Williams said.
She also said that gun violence should be discussed at home to help parents process what they’ve been through.
“We assume that children are innocent and they don’t know. If we had a conversation, we would be surprised what they would pick up,” Dr. Williams said.
The situation raises many questions, including how a 6-year-old gets a gun and how to use it. Mental health experts tell News 3 they believe video games can have an impact.
If you’re looking for mental health resources, visit Dr. William’s website. Resources on how to talk to children after a school shooting are available from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network here.