A Response to School Tragedy in Uvalde, TX
Dear SPS Community,
We are devastated by the senseless loss of life of students and staff at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The unspeakable tragedy strikes at our core as educators and caregivers who are relentlessly committed to protecting our children.
We know that tragic events like this can result in anxiety and fear for many members of our community. Students and staff will require additional support during this time. Our school-based student support teams are ready to provide counsel to members of our community who may be struggling with news of this school shooting. Additionally, we have provided guidance to educators and school leaders as they help our students process this event in a developmentally appropriate manner. We have been in contact with the Salem Police Department which will have increased visibility at our schools throughout the day.
We also wanted to provide our families with resources that might be useful as you discuss this traumatic event with your children. We know that many children will have questions as the aftermath of the incident plays out publicly through the media. Please find these resources below:
- The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) tips for parents and educators to talk with children about violence.
- Common Sense Media offers How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings by taking an age-based approach to discuss news of school shootings with kids.
- The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends honesty with children – acknowledging that bad things do happen, but reassuring them with the information that many people are working to keep them safe, including their parents, teachers, and law enforcement. .
- The Horrific Mass Shooting in Buffalo: How to Talk with Young People, from the Anti-Defamation League.
As a reminder, we continue to take proactive steps to ensure that our schools remain as safe as possible. We collaborate regularly with our city emergency personnel through our district-wide safety team. Together, we review school emergency plans, coordinate our school intruder drills (ALICE) and examine our visitor protocols. Most importantly, we are committed to strengthening relationships with our students and families. This remains the most important deterrent when addressing the potential for school violence. Our students need to know that they are valued, seen, and supported across our school communities. We have extensive counseling and mental health resources that we can offer our students when they are struggling for any reason. If you have any concerns about your child’s emotional well-being, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your child’s school or the district’s student support team as soon as possible for help at (978) 740-1225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance for partnering with us as we grieve with the people of Uvalde during this heartbreaking time for our nation.
Stephen K. Zrike, Jr., Superintendent of Schools
[Wednesday, May 25 at 9:03 AM]
I have received a message that the link for the ADL article about Buffalo is not working. Please use this link instead: https://adl.org/resources/blog/horrific-mass-shooting-buffalo-how-talk-young-people-0