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Letter to Parents regarding Newtown, Connecticut

posted Dec 17, 2012, 1:42 PM by John Mott


December 17, 2012

Dear Members of the Montessori Community,


By now I am sure you have heard of the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut. I know I speak for our entire community when I say our thoughts and prayers are with those families. The impact of a tragedy of this proportion extends beyond the town of Newtown and impacts us all.

Our first response as parents is to protect our children. We pull them close and try to make sense of the senseless so we can move on in our lives.

While that feels good for the short term, we know there is more to do in the long term. As President Obama stated last evening, “We learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.”

Since Friday afternoon I have been in contact with a number of education related organizations to determine the best course of action. Our response to this type of event is clear.

The parent and the school each have a role to play.

The parent’s role is to talk about the incident with their children at the age and developmental level you feel is appropriate. Below you will find an excerpt from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network:

 

Things I Can Do for My Child

·       Spend time talking with your children. Let them know that they are welcome to ask questions and express their concerns and feelings. You should remain open to answering new questions and providing helpful information and support. You might not know all the answers and it is OK to say that. At the same time, don’t push them to talk if they don’t want to. Let them know you are available when they are ready.

·       Find time to have these conversations. Use time such as when you eat together or sit together in the evening to talk about what is happening in the family as well as in the community. Try not to have these conversations close to bedtime, as this is the time for resting.

·       Promote your children’s self-care. Help children by encouraging them to drink enough water, eat regularly, and get enough rest and exercise. 

·       Help children feel safe. Talk with children about their concerns over safety and discuss changes that are occurring in the community to promote safety. Encourage your child to voice their concerns to you.

·       Maintain expectations or “rules.” Stick with family rules, such as curfews, checking in with you while with friends, and keeping up with homework and chores.

·       Limit media exposure. Protect your child from too much media coverage about the attacks, including on the Internet, radio, television, or other technologies (e.g., texting, Facebook, Twitter). Explain to them that media coverage and social media technologies can trigger fears of the attacks happening again and also spread rumors. Let them know they can distract themselves with another activity or that they can talk to you about how they are feeling.

 

The role of the school is to reinforce a safe and secure environment. The only way we can achieve this is to go about our normal routine in the most professional manner.

If a child begins to discuss the Sandy Hook tragedy, our teachers and assistants will quickly and lovingly ensure them they know about the incident then refocus their attention to the studies at hand. This will reinforce normalcy, consistency and safety for our students within the classroom environment.

MRCS staff members will not make the subject the focus of attention or turn it into a class discussion. We respect the parent’s prerogative to determine the amount of information they feel is appropriate for their child.

Additionally, we have reviewed our policies and procedures in the unlikely event we would have such an occurrence at MRCS. As most of you know internal safety and security is a high priority at MRCS and we will continue to make it a high priority for the safety and well-being of all our students.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

 

Sincerely,


 Anthony Pirrello

CEO

Montessori Regional Charter School