ALBANY AND RENSSEALER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — School districts are utilizing their partnerships with law enforcement, reviewing their safety protocols and ensuring parents have resources to help their kids at home. They’re also turning their attention to the classroom and hallways, where discussions are likely to arise about the devastating shooting in Texas.
“Because this happened in Texas, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact us here. Because of the tragedy in Buffalo, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact us here. It impacts all of us,” said Albany City School District Superintendent Kaweeda Adams.
The most critical thing that staff can do right now, according to Adams, is allow the time for students to talk and authentically express themselves.
“From what they bring and put on the table for discussion, we would tailor that support to them,” Adams explained, also noting the importance of keeping conversations age appropriate when it comes to news of a shooting.
At the Rensselaer City School district, information went out to staff Wednesday morning to help them navigate classes where students may be grappling with the tragedy. Kim Manikas, middle and high school psychologist said the materials include written prompts to help teachers lead discussions, and more from reputable mental health sources.
“Everyone has been trained on mental health first aid, so our staff is really tuned into how to notice when a student is, kind of dealing with something on a more personal mental health level, so they can refer the students up to us,” Manikas said.
Manikas put emphasis on the need for school staff and teachers to be looking after their own mental health, too. She said focusing on routine can be an effective way to cope in the aftermath of a tragedy.