(The following note from Marin County Schools Superintendent Mary Jane Burke was sent to schools all over the county.)
By Mary Jane Burke
The tragedy in Connecticut has had a profound impact on schools and communities across our country and, in fact, the world. As parents, we are deeply touched by an event like this — both as we mourn for the families whose lives have been devastated by this event, and, as we seek to comfort, inform and communicate with our children.
I am forwarding some resources that may be of assistance to you, especially related to how to best to communicate with our children about violent and tragic events.
- Common Sense Media (3 minutes) - Explaining the News to Our Kids
- Child Mind Institute (1 1/2 minutes) - Helping Children After Traumatic Events
- National Association of School Psychologists - A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope
As a local community, one of the most important things we can do at a time like this is, after comforting and supporting the children in our care, is to make sure that we are as prepared as possible to deal with situations such as this one in our schools. Accordingly, we have called together a committee representing local school and law enforcement leaders to evaluate next steps we can take in our community to further enhance our emergency preparedness plans. Through the existing system established by the Marin County School Law Enforcement Partnership, we will communicate to law enforcement and our schools the recommendations and next steps identified by the committee.
We are also bringing our community together through two forums to be held on Dec. 18, both at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Avenue, San Rafael. A panel of professionals representing education, mental health, law enforcement and community agencies will provide information to support school personnel and parents as our community deals with the aftermath of the Connecticut shooting:
For School Personnel and Community Partners — "Helping Students and Staff After Traumatic Events" 3:30-5 p.m.
For Parents and Community Members — "Resources and Strategies to Support Children During Times of Tragedy. 6:30-8 p.m.
As the tragic story continues to unfold over the next days and weeks, let us continue to offer support and comfort to each other and, with strong resolve, do all that we can to insure a safe, nurturing and healthy community for our children and for all of us.