New guidebook from Principal Recovery Network: How you can recover from a school shooting

Nearly two dozen principals participated in the book to offer support and solutions in the aftermath of school violence.

There were 193 instances of gunfire on pre-K-12 campuses last year alone, nearly quadrupling the national average each year since 2013.

Those are the latest numbers released last week by Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that promotes gun prevention.

Schools that have suffered such a tragedy in the last year are implementing policies to ensure that their students feel safe and secure. Parents of children who attend Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, were given the option to enroll their students in online learning after a shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead. Using pandemic relief money, Erie City School District in Pennsylvania has spent more than $1 million on security improvements, such as metal detectors and improved door locks.

As schools brace for what is expected to be another difficult year, it’s important for leaders to feel supported.


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Founded in April 2019, the Principal Recovery Network is a team of current and former school leaders who serve to guide leaders in the aftermath of shootings and other violence.

The organization, assembled by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, released a guidebook on Monday offering solutions for leaders to help guide them through trauma recovery caused by school shootings.

“While there may not be an exact return to ‘normal’ after a shooting tragedy, you can recover and create a healthy new normal for your school,” the guidebook states. “As you begin this recovery process, please remember these two things: You are not alone, and there is no established timeline for recovery.

Nearly two dozen principals contributed to the guidebook, providing insight into the following areas:

  • Securing support and responding to offers of assistance
  • Reopening the school
  • Attending to the ongoing needs of students and staff
  • Holding commemorations and annual remembrances
  • Listening to students’ voices

“The scale of the incident may vary, but every school shooting takes a distinct toll on students, educators, parents, and the community,” the book says. “In the aftermath, many will turn to you, the principal, as a source of support and guidance, even as you seek to personally recover and process your own emotion.”

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttp://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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