The Rooftop faculty and staff join the nation in grieving the loss and remembering the victims of the tragedy that happened last Friday, December 14th, in Newtown, CT.
I want to assure all of you that in light of the unfortunate incident, we stand ready to respond to the emotional needs of our students as necessary. Our teachers have access to resources should it be necessary to have conversations with a child, small group of children, or the class. We are proceeding with these conversations with caution, as this is a delicate and sensitive topic. While we are not going to have a school-wide discussion on this, we shall provide time for those needing it. We ask that you join our efforts by reinforcing the following points with your child as the opportunity arises:
- Reassure your child that he/she is safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let your child talk about his/her feelings, and assist him/her in expressing these feelings appropriately.
- When asked, tell basic facts about what happened, and then allow time to respond to questions.
- Remind your child that the school has Safety Procedures that he/she needs to follow and be mindful of all the time.
- Identify caring adults your child can talk to. Help your child identify at least two adults at school and in the community to whom he/she can go to if he/she feels unsafe. Encourage students to continue the conversation with these adults about concerns and ways to stay safe.
- Discuss ideas about how he/she can help himself/herself and others feel better if he/she begins to worry. Encourage him/her to generate a short list of things he/she can do when upset or worried that may help him/her feel better.
- Reassure your child that we are all working together to make sure that everyone is safe at school.
The National Association of School Psychologist offers similar talking points for parents and teachers (direct link: http://www.nasponline.org/
Our Learning Support Professional / social worker, Katie McDougall, will work with students and their families (which includes referring them to appropriate services) who will need more intensive support. If you are concerned about your child and his/her emotional needs, please do not hesitate to contact us. We shall make every effort to provide him/ her available resources and needed support.
Unfortunate incidents such as what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary make us reflect on current practices as they relate to overall school safety. Along that line, I would like you to know that we will review and adjust (as necessary) our safety plan to improve campus safety and security. We will work closely with the district’s Maintenance and Facilities Division, Emergency Preparedness, in assessing and improving overall safety at Rooftop.
As a parent, I can understand the concerns that you have at this time. We all want to be assured that our children are safe all the time. Recent events around the country, however, get us very concerned about our youngsters. As your principal, my commitment is to work my hardest in protecting the safety and well-being of everybody at Rooftop.
Thank you very much.