Letter from Snoqualmie Valley School Superintendent Regarding Tragic Connecticut School Shooting

Living Snoqualmie would like to share this letter from SVSD Superintendent, Joel Aune, regarding today’s tragic school shooting in Connecticut.  It offers some good advice for parents pertaining to the event and all the news reports hitting the airwaves in response to this morning’s tragedy, as well as information regarding the safety of SVSD students while in school buildings. 

The letter was sent to all SVSD parents today, December 14, 2012.

Dear parents and colleagues,

In the news this morning, we are learning reports of a massive shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, school staff and communities affected by this unthinkable tragedy.  While reports are varying and details continuing to emerge, we know that an incidence of this magnitude is troubling to adults and children as we struggle to understand why tragedies such as this occur.

Please know that the safety of our students is our number one priority in the Snoqualmie Valley School District.  Our schools have worked hard over the past few years to develop our building emergency preparedness plans.  Our plans have been developed in coordination with local emergency responders and experts from OSPI and the State.  We have trained our school staff and regularly practice drills in preparation for potential emergencies at every school.  Please be assured that preparedness for emergencies has been and continues to be a top priority in your schools.

Currently, your students are safely attending our schools today, and most likely are not yet aware of this incident today.  When they return home and tune in to media reports, however, this will no doubt be top-of-mind discussion among families throughout the nation.

For your immediate reference, here are some suggestions to help make your children feel safe:

  • Turn off or monitor the television. Endless news programs are likely to heighten anxiety, and young children cannot distinguish between images on television and their personal reality.
  • Maintain a normal routine.
  • Stick to facts.  Answer questions factually.  “Yes, we may go to war and our troops will do their jobs to protect us.”
  • Remain calm and reassuring.  Children take their cues from their parents, teachers and adults.
  • Be optimistic.
  • Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.
  • Take care of yourself.  You are better able to help your students if you are coping well.  If you are anxious or upset, your students are more likely to be so as well.

Next week, our schools will be ready with counseling support on hand for those who need additional support.  Please let your school principal or counselor know if you have specific concerns about your student/s.

We will also encourage our schools to review their crisis plans in light of this tragedy as well as reinforce school security and campus visitor procedures. In the coming year, we will also reach out to our families and school communities to build greater awareness and knowledge regarding these plans.

In a world of uncertainty, we will continue to work together to ensure the safety and well-being of all 6,000+ students and staff in our schools.

Joel Aune

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