December 16, 2012
Dear City Schools of Decatur Families,
On Friday, a horrendous, unthinkable event occurred which shook our nation and each of us individually. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is unimaginable. We can only pray that the families who lost loved ones and the entire community may rely on one another as they try to recover and heal.
This is a delicate situation for you, as parents, and certainly for school system personnel. Please be assured that we make every effort to maintain a safe and secure environment for your child. We also want to be careful that to every extent possible, with all the media coverage, we do not further scare children in an unnecessary manner.
As parents, you have the responsibility of talking with your children and deciding how much to say and what is necessary for your child, depending on his or her age and questions. For parents, we offer you some thoughts which Dr. Ken Jackson, head counselor at Decatur High School, has shared:
Helping Children Cope after a School Shooting
Talking to Children about Violence
PBS Website: Talking with Kids about News
We hope these will be useful to you as you have discussions with your children.
I have been in close contact with our principals and those in the role of providing support services throughout this weekend. Heidi Whatley, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services, has organized the counselors, social worker and other professionals who form our crisis support team. They will be available at school sites on Monday to assist students, teachers and administrators.
Meanwhile, principals and I will meet together to review several safety topics this Monday, and adjust any plans as needed. We will also ask that you help us by following the procedures and ensuring that others do as well. In times like these, it is important that we follow our normal routines as this will convey as sense of calm and security to the children.
I want to thank all of you for your support of our teachers and all of our staff. It is especially appropriate to thank to our our teachers, administrators and support staff for all they do for our students every day. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our students, staff and schools safe.
Dr. Phyllis Edwards