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Your Life: A crisis is a terrible thing to waste

Charlotte Lankard: We need to learn from Newtown school shootings.
BY CHARLOTTE LANKARD Modified: January 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm •  Published: January 14, 2013

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” says economist Paul Romer, and as the days go by after the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., we see conversations begin.

Gun control, the importance of early detection of mental health problems and proper treatment, and heightened security in the schools are all on the agenda.

The question is whether those concerns gradually will fade into the background or will the dialogue continue until we find better ways of managing these problems.

When employers encounter workplace violence, they try to identify stressors that led to the employee committing violent acts. Adults who live and work with children need to be alert in the same way, identifying early warning signs. Rather than look the other way or punish or shame, those adults should intervene and get the boy or girl some help.

Particular attention should be paid to kids who experience domestic violence in the home, have parents who are using alcohol or drugs — or using themselves — and kids experiencing social or academic pressures.

Warning signs:

Detachment, a lack of bonding and “connectedness” to others.

Withdrawal or feelings of hopelessness.

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