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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Responding to Tragedy

Our hearts reach out to the victims and their families in Newtown, CT.

How can we help our students process their feelings about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary?  On Monday, we want to focus on maintaining our normal routine and on assuring students and parents that our school is safe and secure.  Our counselors will be available to talk to students who are struggling in the wake of this tragedy.

Here are some suggestions:

1.  Limit students' exposure to the media coverage.  Such reports can make students very upset, especially younger students.
2.  Provide a straightforward explanation of the facts surrounding the tragedy.
3.  Stress the safe environment at Esperero and in CFSD.
4.  Return to a normal routine.
5.  Know that it is okay to feel upset or angry.
6.  Focus on compassion for the victims and their families.  

Two questions I like to ask are "What do you know?"  and "What have you heard?"  This helps us as adults to ascertain what kids know so that we can gently correct any misinformation that they might have.

Some language that might be helpful . . . "The events at Sandy Hook Elementary are tragic.  But, in truth, our school is very safe.  Everyone who enters our campus is carefully screened and is wearing some form of ID (including our students).  We  continue to check IDs at the gate every morning, and to practice fire drills, lock downs and evacuations."

Thanks to all of our fine parents.  Several of you have written to me this weekend.  I appreciate our open lines of communication.  Thank you for all that you do!!

Thanks to RoseMarie Cress, our school psychologist, for her input into my blog.  She immediately responded to my email on a Sunday and numbers 1-6 come from her excellent and thorough response.

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