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Talking with Elementary Students

Parents of elementary students:

Your child will not watch the Run Hide Fight video at school. However, depending on the age and maturity level of your child, you may want to show this video to your student at home and engage them in conversation.

  • Carefully consider what the benefits would be to showing your child the video. While some elementary children would benefit from watching the video, it could be harmful to others.
  • Most children love school and see it as a safe, happy place. Let’s protect them from emotions they might not yet understand.
  • Early elementary school children need brief, simple information. Give examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked and emergency drills. 
  • Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. 
  • If you decide to show this video to your elementary-age child, here are some things to consider:
    • Dinnertime can be a good time to discuss this topic with children. It does not create anxiety before school and it gives the child plenty of time to ask questions and process the information before bedtime.
    • Reassure children they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
    • What the child should understand is that if they feel they are in danger, they have permission to get away. If they see a bad person with a gun or someone hurting others, it’s time to run to safety.
    • The Fight option in Run Hide Fight is for adults. Telling a child to fight in this situation is not recommended. 
    • Children should know that being afraid is a completely normal response to an emergency. They should also understand that even though they might be afraid, they can still take measures to protect themselves.
    • When we are frightened, not wanting to move is a normal response. Taking deep breaths is a very effective way to help control anxiety during a scary situation.
  • Questions to consider asking your child after watching the video:
    • How does this video make you feel?
    • How do you think you would react if you were in a threatening situation?
    • What can I do (as a parent) or the school do to make you feel more confident?
    • If you are concerned about what to do or how to react, who could you talk to?