Teaching Students About Parkland Shooter
The Parkland shooting that occurred on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was a tragic event that shocked the nation. As educators, it’s crucial to teach students about this horrific incident and its broader implications on society. However, approaching the topic can be challenging due to its sensitive nature. This article will discuss strategies for teaching students about the Parkland shooter effectively while maintaining a safe and supportive classroom environment.
The Importance of Addressing the Topic
It may be tempting for teachers to avoid discussing the Parkland shooter and other acts of violence. However, students are bound to hear about these events from various sources, such as social media or news outlets. By addressing these issues head-on in a controlled environment, teachers can provide accurate information while fostering critical thinking skills and empathy.
Approaching the Conversation
1. Set the tone: Announce to your students your intentions to discuss the Parkland shooting and emphasize that all perspectives are valuable. It is essential for teachers to create a safe learning atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts.
2. Begin with facts: Before delving into deeper discussions, present your students with factual information about the event. By starting with an objective overview of what happened, you provide a foundation for further analysis.
3. Encourage empathy: Arrange group or pair work activities to discuss people’s emotions and reactions related to the event. Present questions such as “How do you think survivors felt?” or “What struggles do you think families affected by this tragedy faced?” These types of inquiries can nurture an empathic understanding among students.
4. Discuss mental health: It’s crucial to address mental health while teaching about the Parkland shooter. Introduce a conversation on mental health stigma, access to mental healthcare resources, and how communities can contribute to promoting psychological well-being.
5. Analyze societal implications: The Parkland shooting has broader implications for American society. Discuss topics such as gun control, school safety protocols, and other reforms that emerged in response to the tragedy. It’s vital to engage students in critical thinking exercises to understand the complexities of these issues.
6. End on a hopeful note: Conclude the lesson by encouraging students to reflect on how they can contribute to positive change. Engage them in identifying ways they can make their schools and communities safer.