Letter from the Superintendent: May 25th, 2022

Letter from the Superintendent: May 25th, 2022
Posted on 05/25/2022
Letter from the Superintendent: May 25th, 2022

Dear Ellenville School Community:

We cannot fathom the depths of grief and sadness within the Uvalde, Texas community following the tragic loss of life that happened yesterday at the Robb Elementary School. We send our deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones in this senseless act of violence against innocent children and school staff.

It is only natural for our thoughts to move towards the safety of our own children.  This tragic event has again raised fears and questions about our preparedness for such an event occurring in our schools.  There is no foolproof method to prevent incidents like the one that occurred in Uvalde, Texas.  We have safety plans in place that are reviewed annually and cover various procedures and protocols. We also conduct lockdown drills regularly and collaborate with the Ellenville Police Department on a regular basis for all safety and security concerns.  

We realize news of such traumatic events can affect our school community, especially the students and adults who learn and work in our school buildings. Please be assured that our counselors, social workers and school psychologists are available to support our students and staff with counseling services if needed. If you feel that you and/or or your child needs the assistance of our counselors, please do not hesitate to contact the main office of your child’s building. 

Additionally, here are several resources that staff, parents and caregivers may find helpful in talking about these tragedies.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) tips for parents and educators to talk with children about violence suggests that adults:
- Reassure children they are safe and review safety procedures. 
- Create a sense of safety by returning to normal, predictable routines as soon as possible.
- Make time to talk and listen to the concerns and feelings of children.
- Limit media consumption of these events to lower their stress and to maintain balance and perspective.
- Acknowledge that sleep difficulties are common and can lead to fatigue and poor participation.

Common Sense Media offers How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings by taking an age-based approach to discussing the 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 APA also advises limiting children’s exposure to news coverage following such traumatic events. 

The trust that you place in us each and every day as your children board our school buses and enter our hallways is not taken for granted. The safety and emotional well-being of our children and staff are our priorities. Please be assured, and reassure your children, that we take that responsibility seriously and strive each and every day to provide the safest and most supportive educational environment possible. 

Lisa A. Wiles
Superintendent of Schools 

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