Degrees and Certifications:
Serves Odell Elementary and Weddington Elementary
Promoting Compassion and Acceptance in Crisis
by Ashley Morris and Liz Martin
North Piedmont Representatives
Recent events of violence in North Carolina as well as across the country have been dominating the news lately. Our students are aware about what is going on around them whether it is due to friends discussing it at school, coming across images on media or over-hearing adult conversations. While having conversations about what is going on is difficult, it is vital in helping students understand what is going on. School can be a safe place for students to learn and process their feelings about recent acts of violence.
In light of recent events, it is important to continue to promote compassion and acceptance. Having discussions with others provides an opportunity for our students to learn about their individual values as well as the values of our country. It is a chance to teach about respecting others and the freedom and rights of individuals.
The following are some helpful tips to consider in promoting acceptance and compassion in crisis:
1. Model compassion and acceptance of differences. Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives.
2. Provide useful information. Accurate information about people, events, reactions, and feelings is empowering. Use language that is developmentally appropriate for children.
3. Stop any type of harassment or bullying immediately. Make it clear that such behavior, in any form (in person, online, social media) is unacceptable. Talk to the children involved about the reasons for their behavior. Offer alternative methods of expressing their anger, confusion, or insecurity.
4. Explore children’s fears. Even children who can describe what happened may not be able to express fears, questions, or describe assumptions or conclusions they may have made. Use activities, role-playing, and discussions to explore their fears about the events and their feelings about various groups from diverse cultures or lifestyles.
5. Identify “heroes” of varying backgrounds involved in response to traumatic events. These include firefighters, police officers, rescue workers, military personnel, public officials, medical workers, teachers, faith leaders, public figures, and regular citizens who work to help keep students, families, and schools safe.
6. Read books with your children or students that address prejudice and hate. There are many, many stories appropriate for varying age groups that can help children think about and define their feelings regarding these issues.
Amy Roberts, M.A., NCSP(Nationally Certified School Psychologist)Cabarrus County SchoolsSchool PsychologistW.R. Odell Elementary School 704-260-6030 (office)Weddington Hills Elementary School 704-260-6350E-Mail: email@example.com