December 16, 2012

Tips on how to talk to your child about tragedy 

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Dear Families:

Today our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Newtown, CT in the wake of the unthinkable tragedy that occurred on Friday. As a nation, we are grieving together. School should be a safe, welcoming and comforting place for our students. And parents should never have to worry about the security of their students when they’re in our care. But what happened on Friday is another example that these horrible events can and do happen and we have to be vigilant in our efforts to prepare for every scenario and situation.

With that in mind, on Friday evening all DCPS principals received an email reminding them of security procedures and protocols, including visitor policies and what to do in the case of an active shooter. This summer, we received active shooter training and we shared that training with our staff. DCPS employs security guards at every single one of our schools. We work closely with the Metropolitan Police Department. Our schools conduct drills and talk often with students about what to do in emergencies.

Today, we’ve ensured that our staff is ready to listen and ready to comfort students who, like so many of us, are scared and questioning how this could possibly happen. We’ve made available the below links to resources for teachers and parents about how to communicate with children about tragedies like this.

The glimmer of hope in this appalling event is the stories of heroism we have heard on the news about teachers who used their training and their instincts to protect their students, in some cases at their own peril. Our teachers, and teachers across the country, are heroes every single day for the work they do in their classroom and Friday was no exception. In this, the final week before a two week holiday break, I want to reiterate my unyielding appreciation for the work our teachers do, my sincere gratitude for everything you do to help our school communities and my deepest sympathies as we try to move forward as a school, as a community and as a country.

Kaya Henderson
Chancellor

Letter from Chancellor is available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese and Amharic

Please take a few moments to review this material if you need help talking with loved ones.

Crisis Support Resources

Other School Resources

Emergency Planning Resources

Inside DCPS Highlights.


           

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