Teens, Anxiety and School Safety

Last week I had the unusual opportunity to speak to a group of teens who had experienced a lockdown in their high school after someone had called in a threat to do harm at the school. Thankfully, there was no shooter, no bomb and no other threat. Nonetheless, the teens were very distressed during the experience. Of course, they had no way of knowing if this was a real threat or not until about 2 hours had passed.

I asked the teens to recount the experience and to tell me a bit about what they found comforting during this time period. They spoke mostly about the behaviors of their teachers. This was no surprise as teachers play a major role in the lives of their students. The teenagers agreed that they felt comforted when the teachers:

1. were calm and reassuring.

2. appeared to be in control and in control of their own anxiety.

3. made suggestions about where to hide and were protective.

4. distracted them.


5. kept the atmosphere calm AND quiet.

I was amazed at how articulate these teens were about their needs. Right on!