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Returning to School After a Crisis: A Guide to Addressing Traumatic Events at School

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2022
16 pages

This guide is a resource for teachers and other school personnel to use in helping students cope with the aftermath of a school shooting or other traumatic events at school.


The guide 1) identifies best practices in discussing with students traumatic events experienced by students; 2) outlines steps for having conversations with students about traumatic events; and 3) describes strategies for managing stress and trauma responses. Although noting that healing journeys vary among individuals, the guide provides lessons learned from previous school shootings, strategies teachers can use to discuss these events with students, and strategies and resources for helping students cope with their trauma response. Major sections of the guide provide instruction in common trauma responses; warning signs of risk for suicide or mental health crisis; talking with students the first day back to school after a traumatic school event; supporting students after the traumatic event they have experienced; stress-management techniques; using restorative practices; crisis and mental health resources; and resources for students.

Date Published: May 1, 2022