Broward County Public Schools thoughts and prayers are with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims and their families, as well as the entire Marjory Stoneman Douglas community. Below is information to help parents and families during this devastating time. 

• Broward County Resiliency Center - Hours of Operation
 Broward County Resiliency Center - Free Support Groups 

Additional Trauma Counseling Services Available 
• Resources for BCPS Employees
• Free Mindfulness Workshops


Be Available

  • Let children know that you are available to talk with them, but be patient and respect their wishes when they may not want to. 
  • Let children ask questions. 
  • It is okay if you do not have answers to all the questions. It is okay to let your child know that you do not have the answer, but that you will try and find out.
  • Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work.

Be Caring 

  • Let children know about the support being provided to students, friends, and families of the victims.
  • Be aware of children who may have experienced a previous trauma and may be more vulnerable to experiencing prolonged or intense reactions and will need extra support. 

Be Supportive 

  • Create an environment in your home that encourages respect for each other’s feelings and fears, and allows for a supportive, healing environment. 
  • Some children may act out as a reaction. Talk to your child about what is troubling them and do not punish or reprimand them.
  • Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs.

Be Reassuring

  • Validate their feelings and acknowledge the frightening parts of the event.
  • Explain what happened in words that children understand. Explanations should be factual, simple, clear and sensitively worded.
  • Don’t overwhelm young children with too much information. They might want to talk intermittently or might need concrete information to be repeated. 
  • Reassure children that they are loved and will be taken care of. Children who have concerns about siblings or about safety at their own school should be reassured and their concerns validated. 

Be Thoughtful 

  • Be aware of how you talk about the event and cope with the tragedy. Children learn about how to react to traumatic situations by watching and listening to parents, peers and the media.
  • Reduce or eliminate your child’s exposure to television images, news coverage and social media of the shooting. The frightening images and repetition of the scenes can be disturbing for children. If they do see coverage, be sure to talk with them about what they saw and what they understood about the coverage. 
  • Make sure to correct any misunderstanding or misinterpretations.
  • Maintain your child’s routine as best as possible. 

Be Creative

  • For children who are too young to talk or do not feel comfortable talking about their feelings, expressive techniques such as play, art and music can provide additional ways for children to express their feelings and let you know what may be troubling them. 
  • Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.
Children will show a wide variety of reactions. There is no “normal” reaction to stressful events. Some reactions include:
  • Tearfulness
  • Separation or bedtime anxiety
  • Regression in behaviors
  • Reliving the trauma through dreams
  • Emotional numbness
  • Increased startle responses
  • Withdrawal or physical symptoms like racing heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Change in appetite
  • Nightmares or fears related to the trauma
  • Avoidance of reminders of the trauma
  • Repetitive play that mimics the trauma
While symptoms are often transient, they should be clinically treated if they persist. If you have questions, contact your child’s health care or behavioral health care provider to seek advice or guidance.

2-1-1 Broward is the 24/7 comprehensive agency in the county that provides individuals and families with critical connections to health and human service agencies and programs they need in just one call. Everyday, trained and degreed counselors provide support, information and referrals that will help you to access the right services by dialing 2-1-1. Services and materials are accessible to those with disabilities. In addition, services are delivered in the language most comfortable to the caller. For languages not spoken on site, 2-1-1 staff uses Language Line, an interpreter service.


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Information Update