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School Response After a Traumatic Event

Traumatic Event for Schools

What is a Traumatic Event?

Traumatic events are situations that may be sudden or unexpected, involve a shocking nature of events, and produce feelings of horror, terror, or helplessness. Some examples of traumatic events include:[1]

  • Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
  • Neglect
  • Witnessing or being the direct victim of interpersonal violence (domestic, dating violence)
  • Witnessing or being the direct victim of community violence (gang violence, riots, school shootings)
  • Severe motor vehicle and other accidents
  • Medical trauma including sever injury or life threatening illness
  • Natural and human-made disasters
  • Accidental or intentional sudden death of a loved one or peer
  • Exposure to war terrorism or refuges conditions

Research has shown that adolescents who encounter a traumatic event may experience social, emotional and even academic consequences as a result of the traumatic event. Adolescents experiencing a traumatic event may be more prone to engage in risky behaviors, less likely to make realistic evaluations of danger and safety, and may experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).[2] Children and youth may demonstrate one or many of the following post traumatic responses:[3]

  • Anxiety and/or Anger
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Feelings
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse and Drinking
  • Fear
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Truancy
  • Fighting
  • Impaired concentration and problem solving abilities
  • Withdrawal from relationships
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Poor school performance

 

A Simple Way Safe2Tell Colorado Can Help

Safe2tell Colorado engages young people to know in the aftermath in these traumatic events, the importance of what to look for and to watch for people who need help. They can trust that when they report concerns directly to Safe2Tell Colorado, it will be followed up on day or night.

If you witness a child or youth who has experienced a traumatic event and is  engaging in risky or harmful behavior, you can make an anonymous Safe2Tell Colorado report alerting a team of caring committed adults of the situation. Safe2Tell Colorado reports create interventions for youth and children who are struggling and provides the accountability and follow-up required to ensure action is taken on every concerned received.  

 

Printable Resources

 

Additional Resources and Information

 

Acts of School Violence:

Sandy Hook Columbine Cooperative: http://sandyhookcolumbine.org/

Center for Study and Prevention of Violence: http://www.colorado.edu/cspv/

U.S. Department of Education Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events: http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/recovering/recovering.pdf

 

Mental Health Resources:

Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners (formerly Metro Crisis Services): http://www.metrocrisisservices.org/

Colorado Mental Health First Aid: http://www.mhfaco.org/

 

 


1 Cohen, Mannarino, and Deblinger, Treating Trauma and Traumatic Grief in Children and Adolescents, The Guilford Press, 2006, p.3,

2 National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Understanding Traumatic Street in Adolescents: A Primer for Substance Abuse Professionals, June 2008, p. 1

3 National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Understanding Traumatic Street in Adolescents: A Primer for Substance Abuse Professionals, June 2008, p. 4

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