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A Message About The Tragedy In Connecticut

December 17, 2012

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am saddened and devastated by the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut Friday morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, school staff and community affected by this unthinkable event. I know that an incident of this magnitude is troubling to adults and children alike as we struggle to attempt to make sense of why these tragedies occur.

I want to assure you the safety of our students is our top priority and our school has a comprehensive crisis plan in place to help avoid tragedies such as this. The plan is reviewed and updated annually.  Our school district has worked and continues to work with local law enforcement officials to ensure we are doing all we can to help avoid and/or deal with tragedies such as this.   We will continue to be proactive in our approach and encourage, students, parents, school personnel and community members to please report any suspicions of or actual threats toward our school and community to the appropriate authorities.  Our children are our most valuable resource and we must all work together to do our best to ensure their safety.”

I also want to share with you some tips from the National Association of School Psychologists for helping your children cope with news such as this.

What Parents Can Do:
1. Focus on your children over the week following the tragedy. Tell them you love them and everything will be okay. Try to help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.

2. Make time to talk with your children. Remember if you do not talk to your children about this incident someone else will. Take some time and determine what you wish to say.

3. Stay close to your children. Your physical presence will reassure them and give you the opportunity to monitor their reaction. Many children will want actual physical contact. Give plenty of hugs. Let them sit close to you, and make sure to take extra time at bedtime to cuddle and to reassure them that they are loved and safe.

4. Limit your child’s television viewing of these events. If they must watch, watch with them for a brief time; then turn the set off. Don’t sit mesmerized re-watching the same events over and over again.

5. Maintain a “normal” routine. To the extent possible stick to your family’s normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don’t be inflexible. Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.

6. Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children before bed. These activities are calming, foster a sense of closeness and security, and reinforce a sense of normalcy. Spend more time tucking them in. Let them sleep with a light on if they ask for it.

7. Safeguard your children’s physical health. Stress can take a physical toll on children as well as adults. Make sure your children get appropriate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.

Schools have counseling staff on hand should children or adults need it when they are at school.

Khris Thexton,
Superintendent of Schools


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