Providing support: Family Resources steps in to help North Scott survivors

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- Next month marks one year since a student brought a gun to North Scott Junior High School.

As the anniversary of the incident approaches, the emotional impact from that day is still something many are working to cope with.

Emily Gordon of Family Resources says, "There were a lot of people who needed some support right away.

Family Resources provides support through a program called "Survivors of Homicide and Other Violent Crimes."

While speaking about the immediate response and support offered to the North Scott community, Gordon says, "It's a small community, there was staff impacted, students impacted, and obviously family members that were really concerned."

Through the program offered through Family Resources, Gordon says assistance is provided to anyone directly -- or indirectly -- impacted by a violent crime.

In the case of Luke Andrews and the incident where he brought a gun to North Scott Junior High in August of 2018, pointing it at teacher Dawn Spring and teacher's assistant, Kaitlyn MacDonald, Family Resources stepped in to assist.

Gordon tells TV6, "It is a small community, everyone knows each other the ripple effect is really large and of course there were a lot of people present when that occurred as well, so I think the range of people impacted meant they needed a lot of support."

Testimonies during Andrews' trial last week showed the emotions are still very raw.

As former teacher's assistant, and current teacher, Kaitlyn MacDonald took the stand, she was emotional, fighting tears as she told the courtroom, "I had pretty much accepted I was going to die that day."

Like in many cases Family Resources deals with, the emotions in this case are not just from those who witnessed the crime.

Gordon says, "Those parents were not in the room for what occurred that day, but they're hearing that, they're worried, and they're trying to figure that out."

She tells us, although she cannot explain specifics of their involvement in the ongoing process with North Scott Junior High, she explained some of their involvement included providing handouts for the children, counseling services, and even help through the courtroom process.

The program provides both short term and long term advocacy services to help people through the aftermath of difficult situations.

Gordon says, "There are no good answers in a situation like this, there's no making sense out of something like this, but there is the ability to be present and meet your child where they are."

She says support resources and a crisis line is offered and always operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

She tells us, "We have a 24-hour on-call system so someone is always supposed to respond to those things immediately and let people know there are services and support available."

Information on these services can be found on the website for Family Resources, here.

The phone number for the 24-hour crisis hotline in Iowa is: (866)921-3354.

The phone number for the 24-hour crisis hotline in Illinois (309)797-1777.

Gordon says there is always a person on call, as well as a crisis line-trained worker who can talk at that very moment.

She says there is also always a person ready to respond in the event they are needed immediately.

The range of services, Gordon explains, that Family Resources provides, are broad.

She says in situations similar to this, they help people with things such as the courtroom process, what will happen "next," offering support when people may have to deal with tough situations like having to testify, and figuring out victim's compensation, which will reimburse people for time off, and offering crisis debriefing services to the community.

She encourages people who need support following a violent crime to reach out for help.