I wanted to take an opportunity to recognize the grief and overwhelming sadness that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Our thoughts are with all of the families that have been touched by this unexpected tragedy.
Friday's news from Connecticut is startling and disturbing. I would like to offer some suggestions about how to talk with the children as they learn this kind of news:
1) Limit their access to visual images of violence and its aftermath.
2) Answer their questions in an age-appropriate way, giving children only the information they are actually asking for. They might seem to ask the same questions repeatedly. If this happens, they are likely seeking reassurance from you, or trying to make sense of something that isn't yet clear to them.
3) Give them access to art materials - drawing/coloring, clay, building toys, baking with dough - anything they can use to visually or physically represent their feelings.
4) Spend extra time with them, doing things together one-on-one or as a family.
5) Our preschool students don't need to hear about this. If the topic comes up in the K-6 classes next week, we might spend some time answering questions or letting the students talk.
6) Please let us know if you feel your children need extra support in response to this news. Please feel free to contact your classroom teacher or Katie Mayer, School Guidance Counselor, at email@example.com.
At this time, we have locked the front entrance. It will be locked at 7:45 a.m. and will remain locked until the end of the GRACE program. I have a staff member in the foyer to greet guests and to remind them to sign-in and take a name tag. The staff member will be there during the school day. The Grand Isle teachers are meeting with the Grand Isle County Sheriff today to discuss both the county's response and our internal responses to a public threat.
If your child shows concern about his or her personal safety, remind your child of our school's "clear the halls" drill that we practice and will do so again after the holiday break. It is suggested that parents affirm that you believe your child is safe and to be calm and supportive. Parents should feel comfortable acknowledging that you are saddened and upset while remaining stable and reassuring.
Thank you for trusting us with your most precious treasure. We understand the enormous responsibility that we have not only to educate, but also to protect your children. Days like these remind us of the extent of that accountability.