In what has become a far-too-frequent event, I write you regarding the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The sadness and grief combine to weigh heavy on all of us, and our hearts and sympathies go out to that community and to the families suffering an unthinkable loss. Equally, we pause to reflect the tragedy that happened only a few miles from us at Wayne Community College in the very recent past. And I want to assure you all that we most certainly have an emergency plan for this type of situation, and this plan worked perfectly during the event at Wayne Community College.
Unlike previous events of this nature, the event in Florida has been widely covered by the press, and further, very explicit video has permeated social media. These videos and their significant impact on our children cannot be marginalized. Given social media in our time, it is most likely that our youngest to our eldest students have some knowledge of the senseless murders in Florida, even if they have not viewed the broadcasted graphic images. Depending on their ages and the appropriateness of their ages, I encourage you to speak to your children about what has transpired in Florida. This is not to say that we should focus on the morose, or to sensationalize the tragedy that has occurred. But in light of the publicity of this event, I believe it is important to address our children’s concerns and fears. An excellent resource is Talking to Children about Tragedies, www.healthychildren.org, the American Academy of Pediatrics, which includes tips for talking with children in age-appropriate ways. Also, the article, “In the Aftermath of a Shooting: Help your Children Manage Distress” published by the American Psychological Association, offers more tips and advice.
Situations such as the one that happened in Florida raise feelings of anxiety and bring questions within our own community about safety and security. I want to assure you that your children’s safety—both physically and emotionally—is our top priority. I appreciate the many of you who have already contacted me with your concerns, and I will do my level best to address those concerns, and if necessary, make adjustments. All doors in our school will be locked at 8.00AM and remain so throughout the day. Only the Administration entrance will be accessible to enter the building and we have installed doorbells. After-school care also has a doorbell at the Early Years/Lower School entrance; however, that doorbell is NOT for morning entrance, only after school. I appreciate your patience if you must wait a minute or two for someone to let you in, but I believe that this adjustment is one that is worth causing some possible inconvenience.
Know how much we treasure your trust and confidence in us and how seriously we take the partnership we have with you in helping you with the education and growth of your children.