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School Counseling Department Mission  

To support and enhance the mission, and to realize the vision of the Canon-McMillan School District, the K-12 School Counseling Department will provide developmentally appropriate, holistic services aimed at improving individual student outcomes, promoting academic achievement, and fostering the utilization of technology and the incorporation of 21st Century Skills, in order to augment the long term personal, educational and career success for students in a global society.



Talking to Children about Violence:

Tips for Parents and Teachers

From the National Association of School Psychologists

After the recent events in Newtown, CT it is difficult to know what to say to a child about violence.  This is even more of a challenge when we cannot make any sense out of it ourselves.  There are a few generalized tips that adults may want to keep in mind when talking about a tragedy such as the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.

1. Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are in fact a very safe place.

2. Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient.  Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work.  Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.

Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.

Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.

Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines.  

4. Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.

5. Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.

6. Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.

7. Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.


Canon-McMillan BIG MACS


B e respectful and responsible.

I nclude others.

G et help from adults.


M ake your words kind.

A ccept differences.

C are about feelings.

S tand up for what’s right. 


Borland Manor & Wylandville
Ms. Ford

Muse Elementary
Ms. Sohyda

Muse and Hills-Henderson Elementary
Mr. Hughey

South Central
Ms. McCullough

Cecil Intermediate
Mr. Barzan

North Strabane Intermediate
Ms. Kyle


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