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Healing and Hope: Navigating Life After School Tragedy

KARE 11 anchor Jason Hackett teams up with Sheletta Brundidge for real talk about teen mental health and school tragedies.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn — A teenager shot at a St. Paul rec center.

A student stabbed to death at Harding High School.

Multiple people shot and hundreds more running for safety at Michigan State.

Headlines over the past few weeks in Minnesota and across the country have become far too common, leaving students, parents and teachers scared and struggling.

KARE 11 Sunrise anchor Jason Hackett teamed up with Sheletta Brundidge, CEO and producer of the shelettamakesmelaugh.com podcast network celebrating communities of color, for a special roundtable discussion, “Healing and Hope: Navigating Life After School Tragedy,” which you can view in the video player above or on the KARE 11 YouTube page

The conversation featured expert advice from Dr. Verna Cornelia Price, an author, academic, founder of nonprofits Girls Taking Action and Boys of Hope, and host of Dr. Verna's Virtues podcast. Also joining the conversation was Lambers Fisher, a therapist, author, motivational speaker and an expert in diversity and inclusion, who hosts the Diversity Dude podcast. The special also featured Brandon Jones, host of the It's Not Your Fault podcast.

Three teenagers also joined the discussion to share their thoughts on safety and coping with life after tragedy. 

Brundidge said her network’s podcast hosts received numerous messages from kids following the Harding High School stabbing, wondering how to cope with such a traumatic experience in their school.

“Even if it’s not their school, they’re being impacted,” Brundidge said.

Below, you'll find some of the important messages featured in the program, including advice for parents to help kids regulate their emotions; suggestions for educators to create a sense of safety in school; and tips for teens on how to cope.


  1. Help kids identify their feelings: Encourage your child to talk about their emotions. Help them identify and name their feelings to understand better and manage them.
  2. Model emotion regulation: Show your child how to regulate their emotions by modeling appropriate behavior. This can include taking deep breaths, counting to 10, or talking about your own emotions.
  3. Encourage positive self-talk: Teach your child positive self-talk to help them better manage their emotions. Help them recognize and challenge their negative thoughts and focus on the positive.
  4. Model problem-solving: Show your child how to problem-solve and find solutions to their issues. Encourage them to think through different options and come up with a plan.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques: Teach your child relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness. These can help them feel calmer and more in control in difficult situations.
  6. Create a safe environment: Provide your child with a safe and supportive environment where they can express their emotions. This will help them feel more comfortable talking about their feelings and more willing to ask for help.


  1. Validate Difficult Emotions: Communicate to your students that their feelings are legitimate and that it is okay for them to feel a variety of emotions.
  2. Be Patient with Unhealthy Expressions of Feeling: Resist reacting to unhealthy expressions that are likely less about disrespecting your authority and more about your students' need to get out uncomfortable fears and frustrations.
  3. Reassure Students that You Care about their Safety: Make it clear to your students that you care about their well-being as individuals, not just their academic accomplishments.
  4. Acknowledge Your Own Safety Concerns: Acknowledging that you are similarly impacted by safety concerns can be significantly validating and can help students accept their own feelings
  5. Look For & Address Warning Signs: Let your students see that they are not alone in their effort to look for and take steps to prevent potential threats to their safety at school.
  6. Remember You’re Nor Expected to Do Everything: Collaborate with mental health professionals in our outside of your school to know when to refer students for more professional support.


1. Talk about your feelings: It's OK to feel a range of emotions like sadness, anger, fear, or confusion. Don't be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.

2. Reach out for support: Connect with family, friends, and other trusted adults, who can provide comfort and understanding.

3. Take care of yourself: Try to maintain a regular routine, eat healthy meals, get plenty of rest, and exercise.

4. Celebrate the life of the person who passed away: Share memories and stories, and talk about the impact they had on your life.

5. Find healthy ways to cope: Create a memorial, volunteer, journal, or practice a hobby.

6. Seek professional help if needed: Speak with a school counselor, psychologist, or other mental health professionals if you need extra help to cope.

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