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Bettendorf counselor helps families to cope with Connecticut tragedy

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Bettendorf school counselor Shelley Klaas has a tough assignment Friday afternoon. She’s drafting a district-wide e-mail to parents. It’s a message to help families to cope with the aftermath of the Connecticut tragedy.

“When children ask that ‘why’ question, we do have to tell them that sometimes we don’t know the reason why,” she said. “And that sometimes, bad or senseless things happen.”

Klaas suggests that any information for younger children should come directly from parents. That will help to ease the shock and strain. Older students in middle school and high school can deal with media coverage, but they should share any concerns with parents who provide reassurance and caring responses.

“You have a community that supports you,” she continued. “A family who loves you. A school community that will help to keep you safe.”

That understanding can help families to process such unthinkable news. It’s trying to make sense of the senseless. Something that’s challenging for children and adults.

While geography distances the tragedy from the Quad Cities, it’s still something that hits close to home. Local families will find they’re not alone if they need help.

“Going back to that reassurance of what is happening around them in their community — that most of the people that they know are good people who only want the best for them,” she concluded.

Some advice to help families on a very difficult day. The entire interview is also available on our website.