White Bear Lake Area Schools family,
As we wrap up the school week, we reflect on yet another school shooting tragedy, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. School communities across the country are grieving yet another senseless act of violence.
A resource titled "Talking to Children About Violence," created by the National Association of School Psychologists, might be helpful as you talk with children about this latest event. The information can be found here. The document lists the following: 1) Reassure children that they are safe, 2) Make time to talk, 3) Keep explanations developmentally appropriate, 4) Review safety procedures, 5) Observe children's emotional state, 6) Limit television viewing of these events, 7) Maintain a normal routine. The document also provides suggested points to emphasize with children.
White Bear Lake Area Schools is a caring school community that provides a safe environment for students. In the last couple of years, we have put more resources towards mental health supports for students, including increased social worker time and increased training for staff members in the area of mental health. Additional trainings are available to families and staff members throughout the school year, with monthly Mental Well-Being Series topics listed here.
We strive to ensure each student feels they have a trusted adult in the school system they can go to if they are concerned about something they have witnessed, or if they are concerned about their own feelings. As we look forward, our ongoing strategic planning process has included many discussions about school safety and student mental health supports, so there is no doubt that this will continue to be a priority in the future.
Please take this opportunity to help us renew our commitment to safe schools. Emphasize to students that when they see something that concerns them they can and should report it to a staff member or principal. Concerns may include another's words, actions, or social media postings. We will always follow up on any report. Maintaining safe schools and communities is everyone's responsibility.
I hope you will join me in keeping the families of those impacted in Florida in your thoughts and prayers, and accept my genuine appreciation for your efforts in keeping our students and families safe.
Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak
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