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KCKPS offers support, resources to families after Texas elementary school shooting

KCKPS resources
Posted at 4:35 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 18:23:57-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan.  — A school shooting is tough for any parent to talk about with their children, but it is especially hard for those with a similar background to the victims.

The shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a city with a large Hispanic population, has impacted the Latino community throughout the country.

On Wednesday, KSHB 41 News went to Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, where the majority of students identify as Hispanic, to talk about what resources children need after events like school shootings.

Consejos para que las familias hablen con sus hijos sobre el tiroteo que occurió en una escuela en Tejas

In the district, behavioral health social workers have been talking openly with students about Tuesday's school shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 students and two adults.

"We start by saying that we know that something scary has happened," Fior Sandoval, a KCKPS behavioral health social worker, said.

Sandoval is also a mother and grandmother.

"When I think about situations like this, middle school, high school comes to mind, but elementary, it's hard to think about," Sandoval said.

Sandoval explained many of the children at John Fiske Elementary School at KCKPS had questions about the Texas shooting.

"We have a big number of kids been very scared talking about how scared they are, talking about whether or not that could happen to us and what they can do," Sandoval said.

Sandoval said children need an adult they can trust either at school or at home to talk to when they're scared.

KSHB 41 News also spoke with Angela Dunn who is the behavioral health coordinator for the district. It's been especially hard for this community with 55% of students in the district identifying as Hispanic.

"Seeing on the news those streets, that school, the families that are responding and hugging their kids look like our families," Dunn said.

Dunn explained how parents should talk with their kids during this time.

"I think parents should be open with their children asking questions. I think kids are going to connect with the people they feel safest with," Dunn said.

Dunn also said parents should watch for the following signs if they feel their children are struggling:

  • Being withdrawn or overly fearful
  • Experiencing a change in sleep patterns or appetite

"I think those are some signs that they may be struggling with some emotion whether it's trauma or whether it's just this acute fear because of what just happened," Dunn said.

Social workers are making sure children and parents know they're here for them.

"We do care about you. We want you to be safe and we want you to be okay, and for parents, reminding them that the support doesn't stop just because school is going to be closed," Sandoval said.

If you're struggling and need help, there are mental health resources available for the Latino community. They include the KCKPS Care Clinic, Vibrant Health, The Family Conservancy and the Mattie Rhodes Center.