MATTOON -- It has been more than a year since a student shooter came into Mattoon High School, but the trauma of that event is still there for some, according to organizers of an upcoming panel discussion on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A panel discussion of local trauma management specialists and some who were in the high school at the time of the shooting will be using the MHS shooting as a springboard to touch on post-traumatic stress and detail ways in which to identify and manage this crisis-induced disorder.
The community discussion is slated to take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Broadway Christian Church located at 1205 S Ninth St. The church is serving as a venue for the community event, but this is not an official Broadway church event, according to organizers.
Dan Hailey, an organizer and panelist, said organizers noticed several people in the community still struggling after the shooting and thought they could utilize information on PTSD in the wake of the local shooting or in any crisis event.
For Hailey, a critical incident stress management specialist, the event is less about the shooting and more about serving those still affected by the shooting and others looking to better understand and recognize PTSD and how to navigate it.
"The shooting will come up," he said.
Hailey, the Maranatha Baptist Church pastor as well, mentioned personal accounts might come up as well, but the focus is on equipping the community with "tools" to better understand and heal following trauma.
"We are hoping to give people real help," he said.
"Some are wanting to leave this and move on. Others — it has really affected them. It really rewires the brain."
Hailey said there is no clear indication of the number of people who may still be struggling as a result of the local shooting. In that way, the event is also serving as an exploratory discussion of the shooting's continued mark on the community.
A portion of the event will be dedicated to statements and comments from the panelists and about 45 minutes will be allotted for a question and answer period. He said the questions will be limited to the discussion of PTSD and not specifics regarding the events of the Sept. 20, 2017, shooting.
Hailey; Angela McQueen, the "catalyst" for the event and MHS teacher now famous for subduing the shooter; Tammy Munyon, discipline secretary at the high school; and Major Doug Peterson, JROTC instructor at the high school; will be the panelists at the event.
Hailey added the three others are not working in school official capacity. The school district had no involvement in the event.
Those interested in attending can RSVP with Broadway, but it is not a requirement.