I am sure you, like me, have had the news on over the weekend, and probably have teared up as well, watching the aftermath of the awful tragedy in Connecticut. Over the weekend, I sent a letter to our staff members to share some thoughts about how we will respond to our students, to our parents, and with each other to address fears, as well as to continue our own safety measures. Each school has procedures in place to protect our children against violence. We work with the Michigan State Police each year on our "crisis plans." These plans are not published, as this is part of the plan. The plans are contingent upon the situation that arises, and staff members know what to do. The security and safety of our schools are important, but the human factor may be actually MORE important.
I stressed to our staff, that we need to reassure our students, in the loving environment our schools provide; but at the same time we also need to display confidence in ourselves, and to build the confidence of our children. Children will be watching the adults, and seeing how they react to events too. Our staff members will be observing our students, to make sure "all is well" in their world.
Here are some sites that I received from some of our staff members that could prove to be helpful to our families:
"Talking to Your Kids About Natural Disasters, War, and Violence" is
a Scholastic article that offers advice from a child-development expert
about how to talk with kids about violent, disturbing news.
"Talking to Children About Community Violence" is
a tip sheet from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent
Psychiatry about how to handle discussions with kids about violence in
Dealing With Tragedy in the Classroom is a site on Edutopia that has several resources parents may find helpful.