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Guidance for educators for Spring 2024


As we look to the Spring 2024 semester, we are also approaching the one-year mark of the violence of Feb 13, 2023. The university’s commemoration events are being designed to provide opportunities for all members of our community to come together and take the time and space they need for ongoing healing. 


Following is guidance from the Office for Resource and Support Coordination (ORSC) to help educators throughout the Spring 2024 semester.


Educator guidance related to the one-year mark of Feb 13:

  • As most classes are canceled on Feb. 13, it will be important to commemorate that day prior to the date.
  • Educators are encouraged to acknowledge the upcoming date and its significance via a one-time statement but avoid constant, regular, or frequent reminders of the impending one-year mark.
  • Validate and respect that students, as well as everyone in our community, will have various reactions to the anniversary, as each person remains on their own individual journeys.
  • There is no “typical” reaction, even to the same event, so a wide range of reactions and emotions to the commemoration, from intense grief to indifference, are to be expected.
  • Bear in mind that not everyone in the class may have been part of the community last year (such as freshman, graduate or transfer students), and thus may not share the experience or memories in the same way.
  • Making space for learners who do not share the same cultural touchstones can be difficult but acknowledging that not everyone will have the same reaction to the one-year mark can be helpful in making it safe for those who were not present to feel like they are a part of the community now.
  • Trust and believe your students who express the need for additional time, space, and support during this period.


General educator guidance post-mass violence:

  • Educators should refrain from references, language, humor, and “off-topic” examples related to mass violence, unless directly relevant to course work.
  • Educators should avoid open-ended, classroom-wide discussions on the topic and not invite students to share their experiences, thoughts or feelings related to Feb 13 or other mass violence events, unless directly relevant to coursework.
  • Providing narratives or listening to others’ stories can be quite activating for those who have experienced trauma.
  • Without the support and direction of mental health professionals, this type of exercise can create additional distress, often unexpectedly.
  • Educators are encouraged to review course material ahead of time for potentially disturbing images or references to gun violence, except in instances where that is directly warranted by the course subject matter.
  • If these topics are relevant to course material and assignments, educators are encouraged to provide statements and content descriptors that prepare students and consider options for student engagement where possible.
  • Remember and acknowledge that cultural differences in response to mass violence exist.
  • Share resources and information about the anniversary of a traumatic event.
  • Provide links to on-campus MSU supportive offices and safety information:
  • Provide educational links related to coping with trauma:
  • Consult teaching and educator wellness resources for yourself as an educator to build comfort and confidence in supporting your students and your own journey following Feb. 13. 
  • Do not neglect your own emotional health and wellbeing. All these resources are intended to support you and others within our community, as well.
  • Lean into your existing processes and experience in classroom management to help resolve matters as they arise.
  • This situation is unique, but the resolutions do not have to be. Your department, school, college, and university have existing resources, policies, practices, and procedures for handling classroom needs, use them as needed.


As there is limited research on the effects of commemorations of traumatic events, the information provided here is intended to serve as a guide. The research that does exist points to the complicated nature of commemorating mass trauma and acknowledges how different responses to commemorations are influenced by individual and social factors. For those who do experience an increase in negative trauma symptoms, it is completely expected and they typically resolve within two weeks of the anniversary.