Rogers Middle School principal Kim Holland addressed more than 900 students on campus Monday morning over the intercom and led a moment of silence for the 26 shooting victims of the Connecticut grade school assault. She also sent a note home (below).
And the student council of Rogers will consider what, as a school, the community can do to help, in some way, the traumatized students of Newtown, Connecticut.
Long Beach Unified School District had issued a statement to the media and to parents that was posted Friday afternoon on School Loop, an internal online system with which teachers, students and parents may interact. But a few parents reported not receiving it, or expressed dismay that it contained no guidance for how to help their kids cope with the horrific news.
Most of the hundreds of students pouring out of the large campus in Belmont Park Friday afternoon were unaware of the attack that morning at Sandy Hook Elementary, where a young man stormed in and gunned down the principal, counselor, teachers and 20 students before taking his own life. The Rogers students had been shielded from news reports. But the constant news reports online and on television was almost inescapable if the TV was on. (Experts advised that it not be, and in response to last year's Seal Beach hair salon attack, offered some tips for parents).
On Monday, Rogers principal Howard sent by School Loop e-mail and, later, by flier home, the following statement:
Dear Rogers Parents:
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. Words cannot describe the emotions we are feeling in light of the events that unfolded this past week at Sandy Hook Elementary School. While we may not ever fully understand why something like this happened, it is our jobs to reassure our children who are also struggling to deal with this news.
Today at Rogers, we distributed a tip sheet to our teachers to help them as they talked with our students. On the intercom in our morning announcements, I reminded our students about the procedures we have in place here at Rogers to keep them safe--procedures such as our lockdown drills, and the presence of our campus security officer here each day. I also had students observe a moment of silence. I told our students that if they have any concerns about safety on this campus, they can speak to me, Mr. Fleming, or any adult at Rogers. I let them know that if they felt the need to talk to anyone today, that Mrs. Siler is here to support them. I invited our Student Council to think of a way that our Rogers community might support this elementary school in crisis, and as soon as they make a decision about what they want to do, we will let you know.
Thank you for trusting us with the safety of your children each day. We know that keeping our kids safe is the most important work we do.
For any of you who might be struggling with how to talk to your children about this, please see the attached handout that we provided to our teachers today.
Please see the attached document, “Talking to Children about Violence,” for more information on how to communicate with your children in times of crisis.
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