We are saddened and shocked by the tragic events that transpired yesterday in Florida. Our thoughts are with all those affected, and we acknowledge the bravery of staff, parents and community partners who reacted immediately to help the children. As educators and as parents, it is difficult to comprehend such catastrophic events.
I want to reassure you that we take school safety and security very seriously at Waters. We are vigilant and proactive when it comes to our children's safety and have clear plans and procedures to deal with emergency situations. We have a clear visitor policy. We regularly practice not only fire drills but shelter in place, bus evacuation and lockdown drills. Staff will review our safety protocols with students to ensure that we maintain both a secure and nurturing environment for our students.
I am sharing some tips to help you support your children and family at this time:
- Recognize that children may become concerned that something bad will happen to themselves, family or friends. Explain that safety measures are in place and reassure them that you and other adults will take care of them.
- If your child is not focused on the tragedy, do not dwell on it. Try to avoid having detailed adult conversations regarding the tragedy in front of children. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability.
- Limit exposure to media coverage. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming, especially if watched repetitively. Young children in particular may not be able to distinguish between images on television and their personal reality. Older children may choose to watch the news—be available to discuss what they see and to help put it into perspective.
- Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children feel more secure.
- Be aware of your own needs. Don’t ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talking to friends, family members, faith leaders and mental health counsellors can help.
As always, our top priority is the safety and well-being of each of our students—your children. This is a responsibility we take very seriously. Hug your children, tell them you love them, and let them know that you and the important people in their lives are there to keep them safe. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.
Wishing you all a peaceful and restful weekend.