February 15, 2018
Dear Belmont High School Community,
I am writing to you today about the tragic shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. This horrific event can feel frightening, especially for those who work in schools and have children. In times like these, it is important that we, faculty, staff, parents, and guardians monitor our children’s reactions, and gauge our response accordingly. In tragic events like this, people’s reactions can differ. Regardless of their reactions, it is important for our students to know that we care about their social and emotional wellbeing and we are here to support them in any way possible.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides the following tips to help children deal with the aftermath of this kind of tragedy.
- Provide a developmentally appropriate, clear, and straightforward explanation of the event.
- Let children know that it’s okay to feel upset or angry.
- Return to normalcy and routine to the best extent possible while maintaining flexibility.
- Be a good listener and observer.
- Give them your undivided attention.
- Provide various ways for children to express emotion, such as through journaling, letter writing, talking, making a collage, or music.
- Focus on resiliency as well as the compassion of others.
The NASP has developed a resource for addressing violence titled Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers. Additional information can also be found at www.nasponline.org.
When speaking with your children about these events, it may help to emphasize that Belmont High School conducts safety drills during the year for the unlikely event of an emergency. It may also be helpful to remind students that these incidents are rare and a school is a safe place.
At Belmont High School, safety is our main priority and always will be. If you have questions or need further information, please do not hesitate to contact me or the guidance department.
Thank you for your support.