This is a letter sent by Sup. Traci Pierce to LWSD staff in response the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting today. I hope you find it helpful.
Dear LWSD Colleagues,
The terrible news of the elementary school shooting in Connecticut is a shocking to all of us. This violence against innocent school staff and school children is an unthinkable tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the students, families and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary. As educational professionals, we know that the safety of our students and school communities is always at the forefront of our efforts. I am certain that today was a difficult day for everyone, and I appreciate your continued efforts to support our students, families, and one another.
I have sent an email to parents reminding them of the emergency preparedness work our schools regularly do – it is posted on the website as well. We will take this event as an opportunity to review our own plans and procedures. The email to parents also reminds them of some ways to help their children feel safe. I’ll share them here for your information. Many of you have children at home as well:
* Turn off or monitor the television. Endless news programs are likely to heighten anxiety.
* Maintain a normal routine.
* Stick to facts. Answer questions factually.
*Remember to filter what you say to a child. Avoid graphic details.
* Remain calm and reassuring. Children take their cues from their parents and adults.
* Be optimistic.
* Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.
* Take care of yourself. You are better able to help your students if you are coping well. If you are anxious or upset, your students are more likely to be so as well.
Please do take the last item of advice, to take care of yourself, to heart this weekend and over the upcoming holiday break. Thank you all for everything you do for students every day.
Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District