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Student Well-Being Opinion

How to Support Your Students Following a Traumatic News Day

We are all familiar with the experience of opening our phones or turning on the TV or heading over to social media only to learn that something terrible has happened. There has been a declaration of war several countries away or a school shooting in our city. There has been an earthquake or a fire or a flood, and the number of casualties is still climbing.

We thumb through newsfeeds looking for updates; we listen as newscasters fill the air waiting for new developments; we call our own families. And, if you’re an educator, you are likely wondering, “How can I address this with my students or their families?” If you’re leading a school or a district, you are likely wondering how best to communicate with your staff or your larger school community—or to allow the space for people to share how they are feeling.

The essays below reflect guidance, strategies, and considerations from educators and researchers around the country who have wrestled with how to respond to tragic events at home and abroad, including how to help students wade through online misinformation to find their way to the facts.

We hope you can find inspiration from how your peers responded to traumatic news days in the past—even as those exact circumstances change. The essays appear in reverse chronological order; we encourage you to scroll through. We will continue to periodically update this collection and invite you to reach out to us either in the form of a letter to the editor or an essay if you would like to share your thoughts.

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Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week with DigitalVision Vectors and iStock/Getty
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