Archive for Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Schools provide crisis counseling in wake of attacks

October 24, 2001

At Basehor-Linwood High School, students share their feelings with friends when discussing the recent military events in the Middle East. At Basehor-Linwood Middle School, the attitude among the student body remains largely the same.

However, an escalating world situation has caused some younger students in the Basehor-Linwood School District concern when dealing with issues regarding America's war on terrorism.

"I think we have seen some kids who have been a little more frightened over what is going on right now," Glenwood Ridge Elementary School counselor Rose McGowan said.

While most school district counselors agree that younger students are more likely to be outwardly affected by recent world events, an increasingly difficult world situation has caused some students to feel scared.

McGowan said she has counseled students that have had nightmares that can be directly linked to recent world events.

"There have been some that have had nightmares with something chasing after them and they can't control it," she said. "Some of the parents have said since the nightmares the kids haven't related it to the 11th, but I think it is an indication of the general unrest kids feel as well as adults."

In dealing with a student in crisis regarding the current world events, McGowan said she tries to make students feel safe and secure, both at school and at home.

"We have to try to help them feel secure," she said. "It is helpful that they don't feel like they are the only ones feeling bad about the situation."

At Basehor Elementary School, school counselor Ellen Knight has seen a slight increase in the number of students that have become troubled by the world situation.

And while not all students that she counsels are affected, Knight said some students have shown symptoms that can be linked to the world's events.

"A lot is common sense because kids weren't worried before," she said. "In a time like this, kids are watching a lot of television, a lot of the news and television has a lot to do with it."

Like McGowan, Knight said she tries to comfort students by trying to convince them that the likelihood of a terrorist attack in this area is small.

"You have to be honest, you can't say it is never going to happen because you don't know that," she said. "You just tell them we are doing things to keep them safe at school and at home."

Although younger students are mostly affected, some of the older students in the district have gone through rough times recently as well.

One day after learning that fellow classmate Marshall Norris was killed in a one-car auto accident, already heavy-hearted students at Basehor-Linwood High School watched news broadcasts of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

And while some students continue to grieve for their fallen classmate, school counselors said the overall student body has responded well in the days following the terrorist attacks.

"I have not really had kids come in that were terribly affected," BLHS counselor Carolyn Conklin said. "There has not been a lot of fallout from the 11th."

It seems students at Basehor Middle School have been slightly affected as well.

BLMS counselor Rod Herrs said he has seen a few students that have been worried more about the safety of relatives in the armed forces than actual terrorist attacks.

"I can't say there is a big difference but some kids have talked about it," Herrs said. "It is a situation where it is on all of our minds right now."

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