The PTA Board
Dear Lawton Family,
Please see attached email from our superintendent Mr. Griffen.
December 18, 2012
Dear SCPS Families,
Like you, I watched the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy unfold in disbelief. The loss of lives remains incomprehensible. The actions taken by the school’s staff and students were heroic. Teachers and students kept one another safe and calm, as one teacher said, “until the good guys come.” We may never know how many lives were saved by these heroes but we will remain forever grateful.
I wanted to reach out today to let you know that your school district is taking this situation very seriously and immediate steps have been taken. Though we can’t compromise our enhanced security measures by outlining them specifically, I want to reassure you that we are working in tandem with Seminole County law enforcement, “the good guys”, to ensure the highest level of safety possible.
The responsibility to protect our students has never weighed more heavily on my heart and shoulders. I have called upon our law enforcement, our coordinator of school safety and school counseling community to review all possible measures to protect us and to heal us. There is an increased visible presence of staff and law enforcement on school campuses. We want you to be reassured by this presence and to be a resource to you. Should you have any questions, feel free to call us, email us or take us aside during our visits. Please forward any security suggestions through your principals. You have my word that we will review each one carefully.
It’s hard to know what to say to children to reassure them. Perhaps the tips below from the National Association of School Psychologists will help. A link to even more suggestions is also provided.
What parents can do:
1. Focus on your children over the week following the tragedy. Tell them you love them and that
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. Being with their friends and teachers can help them to regain a sense of normalcy.
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.
8. It may be a good time to have your children write a poem or draw a picture to help express their feelings and feel that they are somehow supporting the victims and their families.
For more information from the National Association of School Psychologist, see their resources page at http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/index.aspx.
If your child appears to be unusually anxious or withdrawn this week, please let your principal know, and district resources will be made available.
Thank you for entrusting your child’s care to us. In my district-wide visits this week, I am encouraged that our classrooms are full of the anticipation of the holidays, engaging instruction is taking place at all levels and students appear content and on-task. I could see in the eyes of the students that they look to the future. As a father myself, I want each student to feel safe at school and to enjoy all that Seminole County offers.
All the best,
Autumn N. Kanistras
Autumn Kanistras firstname.lastname@example.org
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