Here’s how the school district is tackling grief in the wake of Friday’s mass shooting

Students from Providence Elementary School assembled in their blue shirts to spell out the message: VB Strong. (Southside Daily/courtesy of VBCPS)
Students from Providence Elementary School assembled in their blue shirts to spell out the message: VB Strong. (Southside Daily/courtesy of VBCPS)

VIRGINIA BEACH — After a gunman shot and killed 12 people and injured others at a city municipal center building on Friday, school faculty and staff are working to make sure students feel safe and understood in the wake of the tragedy.

As a show of community and solidarity the school system wore the color blue on Monday.

RELATED STORY: Resilient. United. #VBstrong

“One of the parts of the healing process and the grieving process is able to do that together,” said Aaron Spence, Virginia Beach City Public Schools superintendent in a radio interview with WHRO’s Hearsay.

In addition to calling for the community to wear blue, Spence released a statement to the VBCPS community:

“The primary goal of the school district is to keep kids feeling normal and to let them know that we are here for them,” he said in the radio interview.

“Kids intuit how adults are feeling about things, so communicating to them that they are safe and secure is important,” he added.

There are also several resources out there for talking to children about traumatic events.

Here are a few:

School Shootings and Other Traumatic Events: How To Talk To Students

Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting

The National Education Association, which posted the first article above, also listed more resources on their post.

School counselors will be on hand throughout the week, according to VBCPS.

Blue Ribbon Panel

Last year VBCPS commissioned a Blue Ribbon Panel to figure out the best security and safety protocols for the school district.

RELATED STORY: Virginia Beach is beefing up security in its schools

“We’re doubling down on the processes we have,” Spence said.

He said he feels good about the safety and security protocols the schools have in place especially given the recent tragedy.

For more information on the mass shooting and other local news, visit Southsidedaily.com.

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