Resources for Parents following Traumatic Events

Here at the Department of Education, as elsewhere throughout America, our hearts ache for the Newtown, Conn., community. In a letter today to school districts around the country, Secretary Arne Duncan noted that, “Whenever a school experiences violence and the lives of children and adults are lost, we struggle to find words to express our emotions and explain how this could have happened.”

Mother talking with childMany parents and family friends are having a difficult time expressing their own feelings of anxiety, worry or sadness, and often we do not know how to talk with children about such a senseless and horrific tragedy.

Below is a list of resources specifically designed for parents and guardians to provide guidance on talking to children following a traumatic event.

For a complete list of resources visit ED’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center, and read Secretary Duncan’s “Resources for Schools to Prepare for and Recover from Crisis.”

Click here for more information and to see documents in additional languages.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education.


  1. I was a pharmaceutical tech with an associates degree from South Texas College. In 2011 I was hit by an 18 wheeler trailer where I almost died. I can no longer work and applying for disability but my question is if I can qualify for financial aid to go back to college and become a teacher. My whole left arm was reconstructed and leg. My career as a pharmaceutical tech is over. Or are there any grants?

  2. My comment is to seek assistance on who to contact about a safety issue involving American Indian Students. Our children are being “jumped” by African Atmerican students in groups and the superintendent has refused to address it. They are being racially profiled because of their traditional regalia worn to school. The American Indian personnel in the county have also been targeted and either terminated without due process or forced into early retirement. The American Indian community has been shut out from the traditional historical Indian school. Students have been hospitalized from being beat up in the hallways and nothing is done about it. We have been meeting and trying to address it with the superintendent for a year and he refuses to meet with us. Our parents are very frustrated and discouraged. Most of our children have had to quit school because of the bullying and harrassment by the administration. The Indian Education Department won’t help. They say they can’t get involved with safety issues. Can you direct me to someone who can help us before we have Another tragedy like the one in Conneticut.

    • Gwen,

      One of the best places to start in getting assistance would be to visit the Office of Civil Rights at You can also find a contact number for the regional OCR office that would serve your state here.

      Cameron Brenchley
      Office of Communications and Outreach

  3. Good afternoon!

    Would it be OK to use some of the text of this article as well as the list of resources to include in our newsletter for the Safe Schools Healthy Students Initiative in Yolo County, CA?

    I am the Project Director and am getting ready to publish this semester’s newsletter.

    Many thanks.

    Panna Putnam

    • @Panna – yes, feel free to use these resources.

      Cameron Brenchley
      Office of Communications and Outreach

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