ALPINE, TX (KWES) - When Alpine students head back to school for their normal schedule Monday morning, it's not going to be so normal for everyone. That's why the school district has brought in a trauma expert to help guide the students and faculty if they need help.
More than 150 Alpine residents attended the the forum at the Alpine Civic Center. The district decided to hold the event so the parents could possibly understand the situation better through the eyes of their children.
"Just as a means to allow parents and anyone who wanted to come in to receive specific information of how to deal with the stress they may be feeling at home, may be feeling in the community," said Alpine ISD Superintendent Becky Watley. "Just to try to give them a sense of understanding of maybe what their children are going through as well."
Volunteer responder for Homeland Security incidents Veronica Sites was the main speaker at the forum, advising parents to watch for social media, listen carefully and offer reassurance, among other things.
She says in times like this it's important to take care of others, but not before ensuring your own wellness first.
"It's very similar to being on an airline that says if the plane goes down, put the oxygen max on you first," said Sites. "You're better as a neighbor by taking care of yourself but also vigilant as an advocate for to your neighbor recognizing what to watch for."
At the end, attendees were allowed to ask their own questions of the Watley herself, something some said they loved the most. Watley said being accessible in the community is very important
"I can definitely appreciate for their need for security and their sense of anxiety about maybe starting school tomorrow," said Watley. "I want to be able to do everything i can to help them with that. And again, very small town, I'm from here, lived here for nine years and i feel like the sense of family within this community is very important."
If you're a student or parent who missed the conference and want to speak to Sites, don't worry, she will be in Alpine for a few more days. You can contact her through her website, veronicasites.com