Experts say shooting should be talking point for families

Students and parents show grief as they walk away from the school Friday.

Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Friday's shooting at a school in Martinsville created a stressful situation, leaving parents and students trying to find ways to cope.

A school as a crime scene breaks the one safety net that children have come to rely upon. But according to mental health professionals, school violence can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder days, weeks and even months later. Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor at St. Vincent Stress Center, says that is a legitimate concern after the Martinsville shooting.

"This would be a great time to get everybody together and try to share, if we can and when it's appropriate, the facts of what happened, so that hopefully, the anxiety level will decrease some," Richardson said.

With classes dismissed early Friday before Spring Break, the school district says it made counselors available for students and plan to again when they return in one week. Experts say this is the time for parents to talk to their children about what has happened and to listen to their concerns.

"When I say 'Listen to your kid,' it's not when you're eating dinner or you're texting or watching TV, it's when you're sitting down across from each other, literally making eye contact and you'd be surprised how often we don't do that," Richardson said.

Experts recommend that parents also talk to children about not just about their anxieties, but also about violence and safety.