December 17, 2012
Dear Ward Parents,
This weekend has been challenging for all of us as we hear more about the incident in Newtown. Before school this morning, Mrs. Abromovitz, our social worker, and I checked in with teachers to review guidelines for discussions with students. Teachers were prepared to talk with students on an "as needed " basis. Teachers did not bring up the incident for whole class discussions, but had conversations with individuals or small groups of students who they overheard talking about the incident. We want to respect those of you who chose not to share information with your children, and asked children to talk with adults, not other children. In talking with children we want to:
- reassure children that they are in a safe school in a safe city.
- listen to our children.
- answer their questions.
- maintain and follow our regular routines and schedule.
To prepare for today, Principals met with our Superintendent and mental health professionals after school on Friday. We know that your concern as parents is to make our school as safe as possible. I want to assure you that we continue to assess our safety. Principals receive training on school safety and have a number of procedures in place. Our school has a Safety Committee that reviews procedures such as evacuations and lockdowns. Most recently we received grant money and completed work to put new locks on all doors to lock classrooms from the inside without a key and shades for our doors in the event of a lockdown. I know that the Superintendent is continuing to look at other safety measures.
As a parent and grandparent I appreciate how precious our children are to all of us. We need to walk a fine line between raising their anxiety of living in today's world and protecting them. It is through this lens that we will move forward in the challenging days ahead.
Audrey Parad Peller
10 Dolphin Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459