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Lake Shore Superintendent Shares Letter With the Community Following School Shooting in CT

Lake Shore Superintendent Chris Loria shares information about building safety in the district, and who to contact if children need assistance or counseling, following the fatal shootings at a Newton elementary school.

Chris Loria, Superintendent of Lake Shore Public Schools, posted a letter on the district website which discussed the district's efforts to keep students safe in the wake of the tragic shooting at a Connecticut elementary school today.

The following is the text of the letter posted on the district website:

Dear Lake Shore Families:

We want to express our sincere sympathy to the families who are impacted by the tragic event that happened in Connecticut. As a parent, grandparent, or educator there is nothing that shatters our confidence in our ability to keep our children and staff safe more than hearing about what has occurred in Newtown.

We know you are concerned about your child and their reaction to these events. Your child may ask questions about their safety at their local school building. Every school has safety protocols in place that are practiced every year with staff and students. The safety of our students and staff has always been a priority at Lake Shore. While we believe that we have a safe environment, this devastating event gives us pause. We continually review our practices and reinforce the measures that we currently have in place to protect our kids and the Lake Shore Family.

Right now, most of us are having a hard time wrapping our minds around the events that happened on Friday. It is important that adults recognize that tragic events like this can have an impact on our children. Please read the following page for tips on dealing with traumatic events. If you or your child needs assistance or counseling, please don’t hesitate contact your school office or the Crisis Intervention Specialist at the Macomb Intermediate School District at 586-228-3439.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families,

Chris Loria, Superintendent

Tips on dealing with traumatic events

Lake Shore also shared information to assist parents in discussing, and responding, to questions their children may have about the school shooting:

When reacting to a traumatic incident, a child may display behaviors such as the following:

  • Emotional shock and at times an apparent lack of feelings, which serve to help the child detach from the pain of the moment;
  • Regressive (immature) behaviors, such as needing to be rocked or held, difficulty separating from parents or significant others, needing to sleep in parent's bed or an apparent difficult completing tasks well within the child's ability level;
  • Explosive emotions and acting out behavior that reflect the child's internal feelings of anger, terror, frustration and helplessness. Acting out may reflect insecurity and a way to seek control over a situation for which they have little or no control;
  • Asking the same questions over and over, not because they do not understand the facts, but rather because the information is so hard to believe or accept. Repeated questions can help listeners determine if the child is responding to misinformation or the real trauma of the event.

In order to help your children we would like to give you some tips and tools for helping your student through this most difficult time:

It is important that you deal honestly and directly with their questions. Referring to death as going to sleep or passing away may result in confusion. It is appropriate that you use the word “death.” Below are some suggestions that parents may find useful in helping your child:

  • Be a good listener. Listen carefully for any misconceptions or distortions the child may have.
  • Provide physical closeness. Spend extra time talking and being with your child.
  • Encourage children to ask questions and to discuss, write or draw their feelings.
  • Provide play and fun experiences to relieve tensions.

Should you have difficulty approaching this issue or if you would like additional information about talking to your children about death, the following websites may be helpful: www.tlcinstitute.org, www.aboutourkids.org or http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/Ca-0022/default.asp. You may also want to talk with the Macomb County Crisis Center’s telephone crisis counselors at 586-307-9100. Counselors are available 24 hours a day and calls are confidential.

We encourage you to keep your child’s school informed on how he/she is doing.

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