HONOLULU (KHON2) — More than 1,000 Hawaii Dept. of Education employees have gone through a psychological first aid training, facilitated by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

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It’s meant to prepare teachers and students who lived through the wildfires for the school year.

It was right before the start of the new school year when West Maui teachers and students went through the unimaginable.

“My daughter doesn’t know if some of her kids are still alive and she had six years in the district teaching Kamehameha the III was in Lahaina and those are our neighborhood children,” said Catherine Aure a kindergarten teacher.

Not all teachers are ready to return to the classroom after the Lahaina fire disaster.

The Hawaii Dept. of Education said students and staff can receive mental health support both in person and through telehealth counseling.

“We know that many of our educators went through the same experience,” continued Aure.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Terrorism and Disaster program director has been working with staff to prepare for the return of students.

“They did have a lot of questions about what that first day of school will be like and when we worked with other communities those kids were just so excited to see their teachers, to see the familiar faces,” said Dr. Melissa Brymer of the National Traumatic Stress Network.

But that won’t be the case for every student — some students will need breaks between studying — or may be triggered by conversations about the fires.

Teachers want the district to prepare if several kids need mental health services all at once.

“It could be none but it’s a bigger problem than people are anticipating and we need to anticipate for that,” added Aure.

When asked what should parents prepare for and expect going into the new school year, Dr Brymer responded with:

“Some kids because of how they might have been separated from their loved ones may have have some anxiety about being separated from their families at school.”

Some kids may need time to connect with their families – and memory loss could also happen during a traumatic situation.

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“I just hope we can get the help from the outside forces beyond the Dept. of Education because it’s a statewide problem,” stated Aure.