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Kansas City-area mothers, psychologists process another mass shooting

Texas School-Shooting
Posted at 9:24 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 23:15:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As another mass shooting traumatizes a community and the country, parents and doctors in the Kansas City community are processing it in real time.

It’s been a long day for Sarah McGinnity, who's a mother of three.

Following the shooting, she reflected on some of the first thoughts that came to her mind after the shooting.

"What are the first thoughts for a mother of three young kids when you see something like this happen?" she said, asking a rhetorical question. "I’m glad I didn’t have to send them to school today."

McGinnity is the head of the Kansas City Mom Collective, and is expecting a fourth child. Her current children all love the daily rhythm of going to school.

"[They] Go out of the school doors, and run to mom, and give her a big hug and we come home," she said. "That’s their routine, that’s what they know and I don’t want to shatter that."

Pediatric psychologists offered insight on how to navigate these next few days when parents do feel comfortable talking to their kids.

"We certainly have to validate how they're feeling and we have to acknowledge that it's a very scary time," Dr. Stephen Lassen, with the University of Kansas Health System, said. "I think, to do otherwise is to really minimize kids legitimate concerns and prohibit them from expressing themselves to us and to other adult caregivers."

Lassen also suggested keeping a close eye on any changes in the feelings and emotions of children.

"We really need to be monitoring for changes in kids behavior and moods," he said. "So anything that seems to be a drastic change in response to what's happened needs to be monitored and observed. So things like disrupted sleep, changes in appetite and changes in anxiety."

McGinnity shared some of the conversations she's had with other moms.

"Most of the reactions have just been anger and rage, of this is happening again," McGinnity said. "These are somebody else’s kids today, but tomorrow, it could be my kids."

It’s one of many worries for local mothers.

"I’m nervous about this baby in my belly and something going wrong," she said. "I’m nervous about them getting sick, I’m nervous about them going to college, that something tragic will happen. I think it’s just part of being a parent, and unfortunately, this is just one more tragedy and worry you’re adding to your plate of, I hope it’s not my kids."