GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Violence in our schools has become an all too familiar headline recently. It leaves parents, students and educators scared and struggling for answers.
KARE 11 Sunrise Anchor Jason Hackett teamed up with Sheletta Brundidge , CEO of the shelettamakesmelaugh.com podcast network, to get some real answers about what's really happening in our schools.
The conversation, "Healing and Hope: Navigating Life After School Tragedy," 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 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.
The roundtable started with the topic of educating educators. Dr. Price talked about what she's heard from some of those teachers.
"I've had teachers cry... Principals break down and cry. 'I don't know what else to do! I don't have resources, I don't have the connections, they're not listening to me.'"
She says it's important for teachers to have that support from the administration... so those teachers can go on play an even bigger role in the lives of their students.
"Don't run... get bold! Get to know your students even more. So when you get to really, really know them... so when something is going on in that school, you're the first teacher to hear it. And you can make that alarm, you can make that call."
Fisher said teachers should also acknowledge their student's feelings.
"Teachers can say 'Yeah, your feelings are valid… we do need to work on how you express them, when you express them, what impact it has on everyone else… But they're not bad. You're not bad for having them.' Which means I don't have to hide as much, which leads to some of these unhealthily expressed behaviors."
Our discussion moved on to parents, with much of it centering on social media. Dr. Price says parents need to keep an eye on their device usage.
"What are you feeding your child psychologically? What are you feeding their emotions with? If we're not careful… the phone is feeding them all of this trauma and pain and violence."
Our experts say it's all about parents taking an active role with their kids.
"How can I help you cope with the little things, so that you can build up the strength and the tools to cope with the bigger things? Because it's an unhealthy situation that says 'I tried to cope, I tried to fix it, no one heard me, no one is listening, what do I have to do to get somebody's attention?'"
After listening to teachers and parents, it was time to hear from the kids themselves. Local students Janae Leibel, Andrew Brundidge and Alec Santelman all shared their perspective.
"It is kinda disturbing to know all that goes on inside of a school," student Andrew said. "Like something as simple as going to lunch can turn into a fight or a lockdown for the school."
Janae had a message to parents and educators about how kids are feeling in 2023.
"I want to let them know that it's hard. Especially me, a senior… it was hard going through COVID and not talking to people, not being able to see them. But just let them know that you're there. Let them know that you're that person that they can talk to."