I’m all for helping our children be and feel safe. I am glad that there will be more safety with our children at their schools.
With that said. I have a few concerns.
One concern being that I have not heard how the children will be introduced to having gun-carrying guards at schools. You see, for many children having a cop, military or what not in the school is cool. However, as all children are wiser than adults sometimes, they pair armed guard with danger and their minds wonder. How do I know, I work with them, and I’ve been asked about it already.
For many children, school is one of the safest places to be. They are young; they have no cares in the world, as children should feel safe and free.
So — coming from the Child and Family Psychotherapist perspective here… Adding guards to a school may negatively and also positively influence a child’s innocence. I’m not saying that this is certain and it will happen. However, I am saying that there needs to be a plan in place where we prepare the children and their parents before the armed guards show up to the school for an extended stay.
This will allow the children to know what is going on. I know you hated not knowing what was going on and wondered why things where growing up…. Well guess what? Children now a day like to know too and feel the same way we did when they are not told things. Children are to be respected. You want the children to respect the armed guards? Then respect them; by informing the students and parents you will be doing so. Also, you may be able to decrease the anxiety some children may have due to seeing armed guards.
As for the long terms effects, educating children of the armed guards, letting them ask questions will allow for rapport to be built with the children and armed guards. This will help them feel even safer and know that the guards are there to protect them. Children will know who to go to in case of an emergency. We need the children to feel safe, not to wonder or obtain wrong information as to why they are “really” there. Children have a big imagination, I’m very sure they will make up stories, but having them hear the right answers will help decrease the fears and possible anxiety.
Telling children about the change will allow for more communication, less fear and less anxiety. Therefore, I do hope that a procedure of some sort is ready before implementing the guards. I hope this is given to the teachers, school psychologist, mental health therapist and so on… but most of all, to the parents. Because some parents don’t even know what is going on or how to talk to the children about what is going on, let alone, they having to explain it to the children as their children ask question.
Long term Concerns
There may be children who can be traumatized, and keeping in mind that this may also trigger teachers and staff. So it will be best to have a plan for the teachers and staff also. I honestly can’t wait to hear it, so we can get this going ASAP.
Also, money wise, preparing will help with long lasting effects (trauma). If children are not prepared this might mean more teens in trouble and jail. Which means later down the line, more adults who have issues to deal and work through. But then again, that’s with almost everyone now a days…but if we can help prevent this, which would be great. My last concern would be what will be said in this plan, because we don’t want to scare the kids… So these are just something to think about.
These are some of my concerns. Overall, good job in keeping our children safe. We need it.
Smile (if you want)
Note: this is my mind at work here…