By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- While the images of the Connecticut school massacre can be initially shocking, oftentimes, they can linger on to the point where they're haunting.
Licensed Professional Counselor, Becky Cagle, with Samaritan Counseling tells NewsWest 9, "When we see recurrence of tragedy this year, as we've seen with the mall shooting [in Oregon] and now this school shooting, many people are re-traumatized from events in their own lives."
Cagle specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder. She says some people experience secondary trauma from watching these mass casualty events, causing them to become fearful that tragedy will strike them and their children if they venture out into public places, like grocery stores and malls.
"This [Connecticut school shooting] will be hard for a lot of caregivers and for a lot of parents of elementary-aged children," Cagle said.
In Midland, parents of Lamar Elementary School students, who were watching the Connecticut massacre unfold on their televisions Friday morning, were sent on a roller coaster ride when Lamar Elementary was put on a lockdown mid-day.
Esmy Juarez has three kids attending Lamar Elementary. She says, "I was panicking. I was scared. We couldn't come pick them up. I was calling the school to make sure the kids were ok," she said.
Authorities learned that a man who was doing supervised community service nearby had escaped, which was why the school was placed on lockdown. He was later caught and the campus returned to its regular schedule.
However, parents tell NewsWest 9 that situations like that help reaffirm for them how they can never be too protective over their kids, especially after hearing about the Newtown shooting.
Brittney Dejanocitz is a caregiver to two students at Lamar Elementary. Breaking down in tears, she says, "It's really traumatic and it's just very sad. If those were my own kids, I'd want to home-school them just because of that massacre."
Cagle says if you believe your child hasn't yet been exposed to the news in Connecticut, and likely won't be exposed to it, it's probably best not to bring it up.
"I call it borrowing trouble. Let's not bring up upsetting stuff if they won't ever know. But, again, it depends on their age, their awareness, how much the news is on in your home and how much you're talking about it," Cagle said.
If your child is well aware, she explains, reassure him or her that everything will be alright and that he or she is safe and secure.
Samaritan Counseling Center of West Texas: (432) 563-4144