SPOKANE, Wash. — Lewis and Clark High School is quiet on a Jan. Tuesday. That's vastly different from the confusion and fear of Dec. 9, when police responded to a school shooter hoax.
"Even though it wasn't the real thing it was still, I'm sure it was traumatizing to other people," says freshman Pantera. "For me personally, I was scared for my life."
Some students are still feeling the lingering impacts.
"I've never dealt with a situation like this," Pantera said.
Even though a threat may be fake, the fear and uncertainty we feel at the time are not, says licensed mental health counselor Sonia Combs.
"Yeah our brain doesn't distinguish between an actual threat and a perceived threat," Combs said. "It just goes into threat mode."
She encourages guardians to talk to their kids after a traumatic event like what happened at LCHS. It helps them process the situation even after it's over, she explains.
"Let them tell you the story of what they experienced and also what they might be thinking," she said.
She adds some of the details of what your child believes may not be fact, so you can help them sort out what's true and what's not.
Talking is one step, but Combs says guardians should look out for changes in behavior.
"Everybody's going to respond different," she explained.
That's because we bring our own experiences and mindset into reacting to trauma. Changes could be reacting explosively or changes in sleep habits.
For Pantera, things feel safer now than they did immediately after the hoax.
Though there's always the memory and the lasting uncertainty.
"I didn't want to come to school," Pantera says of the days after the threat. "Now that it's like about a month ago I'm not too worried about it but it's still scary to think about like if the real thing is ever going to happen."
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