She says her experience suggests recovery will be a monthslong process for those who were at Robb Elementary School during the Uvalde shooting.
“We were a mess. Trying to get therapy, trying to get help and trying to get someone to understand us,” she tells NPR’s Morning Edition. “I always did the best I could — I stayed in contact with the families where I could — but I was trying to get myself out of that shock.”
In the end, she says she and her students found that talking to each other was something that helped a lot. She’s still in contact with many of them.
There wasn’t much training available for dealing with trauma at the time of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, she says, but there will be a lot the staff and students of Robb Elementary will need help coping with.
“Survivor guilt. I don’t know that the little kids will have it. The teenagers had it. I have it,” Krawczyk says. “The families are going to need counseling. Those kids are going to need a safe, normal space to reconnect.”
And that place can’t be back at school, she says — something she learned in her classroom in the aftermath of the Parkland attack.
“Because I was teaching right before everything happened, my voice would be a trigger sometimes to the kids, and they would literally start crying,” she says.
In terms of prevention, Krawczyk is in favor of making it harder to get the kind of weapons the shooters in Parkland and Uvalde used, including higher age limits — “an 18-year-old is a child,” she says.
And if conservative politicians insist on focusing on mental health, she says they need to think much, much bigger.
“You want to talk about mental health? It doesn’t start with the day that kid shot his grandmother, it doesn’t start with the day that kid went and bought those guns,” Krawczyk says. “A hundred percent, this kid has been struggling since probably the second grade. But we don’t have the finances or the resources to get these kids the help they need when it starts, when they’re little.”
Until everyone comes together to talk through the problems and find solutions, she says, there’s more than enough blame to go around.