Experts share advice on how to talk about YES Prep SW shooting with students

ByCourtney Carpenter KTRK logo
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
How to talk to students about shooting at YES Prep SW
Students these days practice in case this situation takes place at their school, but just because it happens frequently doesn't make it any easier for them to process.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The shooting at YES Prep Southwest Secondary school left many students, parents and staff a bit nervous.

"It's just a lot," one student said. "There was blood on the floor, and it was just a lot."

While the school remains closed through Wednesday, they are offering students free breakfast, lunch and a chance to talk about what happened with counselors.

"No one should ever have to endure what you endured. That's why counselors are available now, and I hope that you will talk to someone if you need to," said YES Prep Public Schools CEO Mark DiBella on a YouTube video sent to student's families.

Therapist Micki Grimland with Southwest Psychotherapy Associates explained what some of the students who were in the school on Friday may be feeling.

"Most kids are going to have some sort of trauma reaction to it," Grimland said. "Even if it's nightmares, or the inability to sleep, or 'I don't want to go to school' or 'I don't want to go back to school.'"

She says parents can help their children by encouraging conversation.

"What they need to hear is 'I want to hear everything you have to say. I want to hear everything you are feeling. I want to hear everything you saw or experienced,'" she explained. "So, let your kids talk as much as possible. That's going to help them process through the trauma that they went through. Even if they didn't physically see anything, the whole energy in the school was out of control."

Grimland says continuing to talk with your children, even weeks from now, will help in their healing.

"The main thing is let them talk through it. If it goes on for seven weeks, let them talk. The more that they talk, the more they are processing out the trauma, they more they'll be able to sleep, the more they'll be able to settle," she said.

She says parents should watch for changes in personality, appetite and sleep. "If they are not eating enough or if they are eating too much, their sleep is non-consistent or solid, those are all red flags to let you know that your child is not doing well. Your child is not processing it well."

Eric Espinoza, the YES Prep Southwest principal who was shot, continues to recover at home. A GoFundMe has been set up to help with hospital expenses and to show appreciation for his courage.

The suspect, 25-year-old Dexter Kelsey, a former student at YES Prep Southwest, remains in the Harris County Jail on bonds totaling more than $5,000,000.

His attorney appeared in court on his behalf Monday morning. He is set to be back in court on Dec. 9.