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Lakeview Administrators Respond to Newtown School Shooting

The President of the Lakeview Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools shared a letter with the community about district building safety and information on how to help children cope with the fatal shootings at a Newton elementary school.

Lakeview Board of Education President Dan Dombrowski and Superintendent Karl D. Paulson posted a letter on the district website which expressed sympathy with those who lost their life in the shootings at the Newton, Connecticut, elementary school Friday, and steps the district has taken to protect students and staff.

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

Dear Lakeview Family,

We know all of you are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the community of Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday. As a parent, grandparent, or educator there is nothing that shatters our confidence in our ability to keep our children safe more than hearing about what occurred last Friday. The thought of someone killing innocent children is simply unbearable for us. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families and community impacted by the tragedy.

As most parents probably know, we take safety and security very seriously at Lakeview Public Schools. Every school in Lakeview has secure entries that require two doors to be electronically unlocked to pass into the office. Your administrative team has worked closely with local police and fire officials to develop response plans intended to react to situations like what happened in Newtown. In fact, The St. Clair Shores Police SWAT team has trained in our facilities and have current blueprint drawings and keys to assist them in entering the building if a crisis situation arises. All of our classroom doors have the ability to be locked at any time at the discretion of the teacher. While we all hope this planning will never be put to use, we consider the worst to prevent tragedy.

One thing important to remember is that these events are very, very rare. Although one instance this horrific is too many, but the statistical reality is millions and millions of students, staff, and parents will attend their schools each day this week and never have to deal with a tragedy like this one in all the years they interact within their school. So, while the events from Friday cause us all to pause and reflect on the measures we have in place, which we do regularly in Lakeview, the incidents are rare. The event also provides a focused reason for us to hug our kids and talk to them about making good decisions and what is important in life.

You might find the following link of value as you consider how to help your child cope at home. It comes from the National Association of School Psychologists and has several good points; please see the back of this page for a list of suggestions for parents. Feel free to contact administration or your school principal if you have any further questions or concerns.

http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/terror_general.aspx

Sincerely yours,

Dan Dombrowski, Board of Education, President

Karl D. Paulson, Superintendent of Schools

The following is the list of suggestions for parents the district included in their letter from the National Association of School Psychologists:

A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope

Tips for Parents and Teachers

Whenever a national tragedy occurs, such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, children, like many people, may be confused or frightened. Most likely they will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react.  Parents and school personnel can help children cope first and foremost by establishing a sense of safety and security. As more information becomes available, adults can continue to help children work through their emotions and perhaps even use the process as a learning experience.

What Parents Can Do:

  1. Focus on your children over the week following the tragedy.  Tell them you love them and everything will be okay. Try to help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.

  2. Make time to talk with your children.  Remember if you do not talk to your children about this incident someone else will. Take some time and determine what you wish to say.

  3. Stay close to your children. Your physical presence will reassure them and give you the opportunity to monitor their reaction. Many children will want actual physical contact.  Give plenty of hugs.  Let them sit close to you, and make sure to take extra time at bedtime to cuddle and to reassure them that they are loved and safe. 

  4. Limit your child’s television viewing of these events.  If they must watch, watch with them for a brief time; then turn the set off.  Don’t sit mesmerized re-watching the same events over and over again.

  5. Maintain a “normal” routine. To the extent possible stick to your family’s normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don’t be inflexible.  Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.

  6. Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children before bed.  These activities are calming, foster a sense of closeness and security, and reinforce a sense of normalcy. Spend more time tucking them in.  Let them sleep with a light on if they ask for it.

  7. Safeguard your children’s physical health.  Stress can take a physical toll on children as well as adults.  Make sure your children get appropriate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.

  8. Consider praying or thinking hopeful thoughts for the victims and their families.  It may be a good time to take your children to your place of worship, write a poem, or draw a picture to help your child express their feelings and feel that they are somehow supporting the victims and their families.

  9. Find out what resources your school has in place to help children cope.  Most schools are likely to be open and often are a good place for children to regain a sense of normalcy.  Being with their friends and teachers can help.  Schools should also have a plan for making counseling available to children and adults who need it. 

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