As a parent and an educator, my heart goes out to those in Parkland, Florida who are experiencing horrible pain. Unfortunately, this violence in our schools has happened in too many communities around our country. It is so sad and a stark reality, unfortunately. At Winans this year and across our district we have made great efforts to educate ourselves with an Active Shooter training as you probably saw in the recent Livingston Enterprise article. We also have created a safety committee that meets regularly to look at our emergency crisis protocols and rethinking all our safety procedures. We have practiced lock down drills, improved building safety, and will continue, too.
Research tells us that in order to learn, children need to feel like they are in a physically safe and emotionally safe environment. We do this here at Winans and welcome parent involvement. Many of you have come to talk to me and I thank you for your questions and ideas. The more we work together, the more we can do to help our children feel this physical and emotional safety which is so crucial. We even have one father who has recently volunteered to come be another loving adult at lunch and lunch recess from now on to add to this community. This is a perfect example of community working together to show support of our children. That parent asked, What can I do?
As a nation right now, I think we are asking what can we do? I am asking that. Our staff is asking that. I know many of you are asking that. It is a question we need to keep asking...
Today I challenged all our staff to reach out to five students they may not know, learn their names... be another person in their lives that notices them, cares for them, wants to listen to them. Our children need to feel that each and every day. It may not stop the next tragedy, but maybe it will.
Here are some resources below that also might help you in talking to your child.
The National Association of School Psychologists has published: “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers,” which is a helpful resource to help talk about school-related tragedies with your child. Our schools have assistance available to students that may need additional emotional support through our school counselors, and other professional staff.
Talking To Children About Tragedies and Other News Events
Healthy Children.org https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Talking-To-Children-About-Tragedies-and-Other-News-Events.aspx
Talking to Kids
Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers (PDF)
National Association of School Psychologists
"Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers" https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers
Disaster Distress Hotline - a 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling after experiencing a tragedy. The Helpline will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.