Stories From Sandy Hook Elementary School Staff
By TLC Founder William Steele, PsyD
On Nov. 14 of this year, staff from Sandy Hook Elementary School will be spending the day with TLC sharing their stories. It will be almost one year since that unimaginable, violently tragic end of so many young, innocent and promising lives. What is unique about the gift these survivors will bring us are the lessons they continue to learn about surviving, the challenges of remaining resilient, the value of community, the many ways surviving children and families are coping and what has helped as well as hindered efforts to heal. Equally important, we will hear how our presenters are managing their own reactions as they continue months later to respond to the ongoing needs and worries of their students and staff.
This will be a unique perspective, as rarely do we hear from or even focus on the way survivors are experiencing themselves, their environments and their lives months following exposure to such tragedy. As we all know, the abundance of help and support provided following critical incidents begins to diminish after the first few weeks. When that help disappears, people are often left with limited resources. Rarely do people realize that the lives of many survivors change drastically in the months that follow and create new challenges that can compound and intensify their initial reactions. Consider for a moment how some of the staff at Sandy Hook have perhaps engaged in self-induced wounding when comparing how they responded to those staff who died as a result of their efforts to help. We know this self-induced wounding is not at all unusual, yet rarely is it discussed. There are so many elements to consider when thinking about survivors. Through their stories we all discover valuable lessons.
Having spent time with staff from New York City schools following 9/11, I can guarantee that while you are listening to the stories of the Sandy Hook staff, you will often say to yourself, “I would’ve never considered this possibility.” You will hear about experiences, reactions and challenges you would never have planned for in your efforts to be ready to respond to similar acts of violence in your schools or communities. However, you will leave the day feeling more prepared and likely add approaches to your current recovery protocol and procedures. You will also leave the day inspired by the strength and resilience of our presenters, despite how difficult it continues to be for them in the role of helping the children and families in their community most impacted by this tragic loss.
Their presence is a gift that will touch all of us in different ways. I know it will be one of those experiences you remember forever. We do hope you’ll show your support of our presenters and their community by joining us for this very exceptional opportunity to hear firsthand what they have discovered matters most to the their children, families and staff. Click here to register.