WGN Chicago interviewed our Matthew Glowiak

Matt-Counseling-Speaks

Students at schools across the Chicago-area participated in a national walkout to protest gun violence Wednesday morning.

WGN Chicago interviewed our Matthew Glowiak about this historic event. To view this interview, please click here.

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“What you would tell parents to talk about to their children about National Walkout Day?

Talk openly to your children and let them know that it is their choice whether to participate in National Walkout Day. Discuss with them their decision, repercussions for their decision, and assess for safety.

Ask them if they have any questions for you. For instance, what is the National Walkout Day about?

Parents are urged to be sensitive to the fact that this is the generation that has been raised with school and other mass shootings becoming the norm.

In this generation students are fearful of going to school, which has been and should be a safe sanctuary. With that being said, parents should listen to their children, take their concerns seriously, not discount what they say, and be as supportive as possible.

If it is deemed that their needs have reached a clinical level (e.g., major depression or severe anxiety), it is recommended to consult with a professional immediately.

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What if your student wants to do the opposite of the majority of the student body (in this situation or any social setting?)

Just like any other student, those who are opposite of the majority also have a voice and should be listened to accordingly.

The reasons for not walking out are many and do not necessarily mean they do not support the cause. Remember, everyone grieves differently.

I would recommend allowing these students to observe the 17 minutes for the 17 students in the classroom or appropriate setting in the school and/or meet with the on-site school counselor or psychologist. Above all, their rights must be respected.

It is important that all students feel safe in their decision. It is in the hands of the administration to foster this sense of safety.

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How do you start a conversation if your student has different views than the parent?

It is likely that students may have differing views from their parents. As a teacher, it is important to respect these views and remain neutral. Explain to the student that everyone has a right to her or his own opinion and that although the parent may have a differing view, there is still much that may be done.

In the case of students with parents who are worried about the implications of the walkout, students may still participate in the 17 minutes to honor the 17 students express their views on social media, be there to support their fellow students, engage in social groups at school, blog, et cetera.

The teacher should also extend her or his support for the student, allowing time to talk and reflect, while also making the student aware of resources that may help.”