Edmonton teachers ready to face questions about shooting

Teachers in Edmonton schools are preparing to face questions Monday morning about the school shooting in the United States last week.
Edmonton parents and schools are grappling with how to explain what happened 2:09

Teachers in Edmonton schools are preparing to face questions Monday morning about the school shooting in the United States last week.

"We're really going to be paying attention to children's anxiety or stress levels," said Edmonton Public Schools superintendent Edgar Schmidt.

"Really it's about processing what kids bring with them into the classroom this morning. Teachers will be pretty sensitized and aware."

How teachers deal with the tragedy will depend on the age of the children in the classroom, he said.

Teachers will wait for younger children to raise the issue, he said, while teachers might be more proactive with older students.  

"It's about being responsive about what kids are  bringing into the classroom," said Schmidt.

It's important to let kids bring it up, said school psychologist Chantel Jackson.

Teachers need to let students talk about how the tragedy is affecting them, she said.

Students may be scared, worried, nervous or confused and they need to know it makes perfect sense to be feeling this way, she said.

It's also important to let students know schools in Edmonton have good safety plans and strict rules about letting strangers in.

Younger students need to know safety is a grown-up responsibility "something we as adults take very seriously and we do everything we can to protect them," Jackson said.

The public school board also issued a handout to parents on helping their children cope in a crisis.

Eight boys and 12 girls — all six or seven years old — as well as six staff died when a gunman burst into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday, marking the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history.