What to tell your kids after the Oshkosh West School stabbing, shooting

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Students, parents and an entire community are processing a wide range of emotions after an officer was stabbed and then shot a 16-year-old student at Oshkosh West High School Tuesday.

After that incident and another at a Waukesha school Monday less than 24 hours earlier, parents and students are telling us they're angry and afraid for the safety of their children. Some parents have said they want to home-school their kids.

Child therapist and author Rebecca Hubbard says those are normal reactions, but she says letting fear take over is dangerous.

"Instead of giving in to the fear, make that fear give us action. Do something. Don't retreat," says Hubbard. "Keep your life the same. Don't home-school your kids, because it's just going to make them more afraid."

Hubbard penned the children's story Kindness in a Scary World.
The therapeutic book, written for children and parents to read together, helps parents explain mass violence to children.

"One of the things I think is really important is giving kids things they can do to help themselves feel more confident and more secure and safer in the world, and one of the things they can do, no matter how old you are, is be kind," says Hubbard.

For parents fielding questions from kids about the Oshkosh incident, she offers advice.

"For your teenagers, offer to talk to them. They may not want to talk to you -- it may be their peers that they want to talk to and process the event -- but I say, leave the door open and let them know how they're feeling about it," says Hubbard.

"Right now, for most people, it's shocking. They're confused. They don't know what's going on, why this is happening. Soon, that emotion is going to transition into anger. 'How can they do that?' And then they start to feel the fear. 'Am I safe?'" says Grace Liang, a success coach, speaker and author.

Liang wrote the book Finding Grace after her husband died three years ago.

Both Liang and Hubbard are visiting Green Bay, leading a panel discussion about dealing with grief during the holidays.

But after the shooting and stabbing at Oshkosh West, the women are also talking with the community about the raw emotions stemming from the incident and helping parents know how to talk with their kids.

The event is free and open to the public at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, 2740 W. Mason St., on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. It's in the lower level of the Student Center. You can enter through Door 9.