Classes weren’t in session on Tuesday for Texas A&M Commerce students and they won’t be Wednesday, either, as the student body deals with a deadly shooting at an off-campus homecoming celebration.
Two were killed and more than a dozen hurt in the shooting on Saturday night at a Greenville party venue. Hundreds more students have been stressed by the crime and campus officials decided to give students a break to let them focus on their mental, physical and emotional health.
Mental health professional Andrea Wise-Brown praised the university for shutting down.
“Yes, it’s a very good idea because these kids need time to regroup, they need to process this,” Wise-Brown said. “They're all experiencing post-traumatic stress. But so that it doesn’t turn into a disorder, which people have heard is post-traumatic stress disorder, then they have to work through this now.”
Some of the symptoms students are experiencing include anxiety, fear, insomnia and isolation. Wise-Brown isn’t surprised, considering the way Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks described the venue after the shooting took place.
“The scene itself was horrific with victims’ blood inside and outside the building, different shoes lying inside and outside by people fleeing the building to try to save their own lives… running to the deputies outside the building begging for medical help or seeking safety,” Meeks said.
Wise-Brown said it’s not enough for the students to recount what happened with a friend – those affected should seek professional help.
“They can help you to put things in perspective so that you have an understanding,” Wise-Brown said. “If they have those counselors there, make the appointments.”
Wise-Brown says parents may need counseling as well so their students can live normal lives.
“You want to empower them to have a great college experience, but not to be overwhelmed with fear and isolation. No. They have to live,” Wise-Brown said.