From Brett Clark, Glenview School District #34, Glenview, Illinois
Letter Home to Parents
Dear District 34 Parents,
We are deeply troubled to hear about a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school today. Sadly, the number of those who lost their lives has increased throughout the day at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. As of this report, there are accounts of approximately 30 dead, many of whom are elementary-age-students. The shooter is also reported to be dead.
This is a stark reminder of the importance of our safety procedures and our check-in for all visitors to schools. While there is no indication that this is anything but an isolated incident far away from Glenview, we do want to take this opportunity to remind all of our families that we conduct regular drills, including those for a building lockdown, and that we have double safety/security doors at the main entrance to each school. All visitors to our schools must enter and sign in with the school office. Other exterior doors to the buildings remain locked at all times and only staff can access those doors with their identification badge.
These are just some of the procedures that we have in place to help ensure student safety and security. Certainly in this day and age we can never be absolutely protected against all circumstances, but we do educate staff throughout the year and rely on our parents to help us ensure we enforce our own procedures.
We know that children may raise questions and concerns about this tragedy. The American Psychological Association (APA) indicates several tips for parents to consider:
Talk with your child -
If children ask questions, talking to them about their worries and concerns is the first step to help them feel safe and begin to cope with the events occurring around them. What you talk about and how you say it does depend on their age, but all children need to be able to know you are there and listening to them.
Keep home a safe place -
Children, regardless of age, often find home to be a safe haven when the world around them becomes overwhelming. During times of crisis, it is important to remember that your children may come home seeking the safe feeling they have being there.
Watch for signs of stress, fear or anxiety -
After a traumatic event, it is typical for children (and adults) to experience a wide range of emotions including fearfulness, shock, anger, grief and anxiety. Your children's behaviors may change because of their response to the event. They may experience trouble sleeping, difficulty with concentrating on schoolwork, or changes in appetite. This is normal for everyone and should begin to disappear in a few months.
Take "news breaks" - Your children may want to keep informed by gathering information about the event from the internet, television, or newspapers. It is important to limit the amount of time spent watching the news because constant exposure may actually heighten their anxiety and fears
If you have any questions or concerns, you are always welcome to contact the school principal or any central office administrator. Please know we have a school psychologist and at least one social worker at each school who can assist parents in talking with their children or answering questions.
Our thoughts go out to all of the families impacted by this tragedy and the many educators who have been devastated today by the loss of their children and colleagues.