Teaching the Tragedy

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

It's a difficult day for many parents and teachers. After Friday's deadly school shooting in Connecticut, local schools are now reassuring everyone that the classroom is still a safe place.

It's a conversation that parents and teachers wish they didn't have to have. How in the world do you explain to a child what happened on Friday?

The mood was a little different at some schools today and at most, it was business as usual.

10-year-old Eli Wilke heads off to school in Beaver Dam. Class is already in session so the doors are locked. Eli buzzes in as a security camera checks to see who's at the door. All of these measures are in place just in case the unthinkable happens.

“I would have never guessed that would have happened in a million years to anyone,”

The unthinkable did happen on Friday in Connecticut, leaving local parents and teachers searching for answers.

“I wasn't really sure what to say I mean with having three different kids at different age levels,”

Nate and Tiffany Wilke have three young sons: 10, 6 and 3 years old.

“It's hard to kind of explain why it happened, that's probably the biggest thing,” said Nate. “How do you explain to a kid how something like this can happen?”

Nate also works as a guidance counselor at Beaver Dam High School.

“For me working in the high school, it could happen any day,” he said.”It hits home and it's a scary thing and it's unfortunate, the way our world is today,”

“It's a tricky message with kids, how you approach a first grader is very different on how you would approach a high schooler,”

Superintendent Steve Vessey says despite the somber mood, education is the top priority.

“First and foremost, the message out to our staff was today: business as usual, today is a learning day,”

With the younger students, Vessey says teachers addressed the issue only if students brought it up.

“Routines are important to kids, they are important to parents and we will stay in our routines," said Vessey. "But conversations will come up and they are unavoidable and we will deal with them when they do,”

He says if students want to talk about it, then a discussion should be had.

“I want my kids to think everything is normal and that everything is fine and that they are safe,” said Tiffany.

Eli says he feels safe and that he's thinking about the families in Connecticut.

“When it happens to kids, that's pretty sad,” said Eli.

The Madsion Metro School District sent out notes to parents on Monday offering ideas and resources on how to talk to kids about violence and what happened in Connecticut. They also had support staff ready in case some students just needed to talk.

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