Years after a shooting at an elementary school, exposed student survivors described, to the authors and their colleagues, a number of lingering effects from the trauma.* For example, Chandra’s good friend died in the shooting. Chandra had undergone successful therapy, following the shooting, and described functioning well but never having forgotten the experience. Occasionally, a reminder of the shooting or a new life experience (e.g., a college course, having a child) made it necessary to reprocess what had happened and to reevaluate choices (e.g., life goals, parenting). Mat and Kyra spoke of being very aware of the violence and other dangers in the world and described continued difžculty feeling safe. Daniel expected harm or hostility from others, had trouble trusting, and overreacted with anger and/or aggression in stressful situations. Lana spoke of how she had never gotten over feeling like she had left her dead friend behind when she ran for safety. Even though she thought her friend was right behind her, she felt like she had somehow betrayed her. The experience in´uenced her relationships and feelings about herself as a friend. Sean, who was shot twice, had periods of depression and of anxiety, had self-esteem problems, was overly cautious, felt like he attracted bad
things, and felt damaged by the experience (emotionally and physically). Sometimes, he stabbed at his wounds with a pencil …. Surviving parents felt lucky that their children were alive, or they mourned the loss of dead children. Some had difžculty functioning in their marriages or as parents after a death. Some functioned well but described, “an ongoing pain in the heart that has never left.” Some became overprotective of their children and frequently worried …. Years later, teachers in the youth’s high school described them as sometimes “dark” or “moody”—“They’d been to hell and back and you could tell.” Teachers said that the youth were often allowed to do things that other students were not allowed to do, such as walk in the halls without a hall pass. Teachers felt unequipped to handle these youth and complained that no one prepared them to do so. Some of them felt unsupported and were angry with their superiors.