Although several days have passed since the unimaginable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the anguish we feel is still fresh, the question of “why” remains unanswered, and reminders of the horrific event will be present for a long time. I know that the District 128 family will continue to keep the entire Newtown (CT) community in our thoughts and prayers in the days to come.
As always, the safety and security of our students and staff continues to be our highest priority in District 128. We have a long history of and highly effective partnerships with the Libertyville and Vernon Hills Police Departments, surrounding law enforcement agencies and all other area first responders. To that end, LHS and VHHS have full-time, well-trained and armed School Resource (Police) Officers on campus during the school day, with additional on-campus police support during the school day or at school events as warranted. In addition, LHS and VHHS often serve as area critical event training centers, which ensure that area first responders have effectively drilled and trained for critical event response and that they are familiar with unique building features and layouts at LHS and VHHS. Finally, working with first responders, LHS and VHHS drill crisis plan protocols during the school day, including lock-down drills, which involve administrators, teachers, support staff and students. Most importantly, LHS and VHHS school crisis response plans are reviewed annually and as needed with all relevant first responders, updated based on their recommendations and then applied immediately. Again, our highest priority will always be the safety and security of students and staff, and we will continue to work with first responders and staff to provide the safest and most secure learning environments at LHS and VHHS.
While our students continue to process the events of last Friday, they may have questions or want to talk about the tragedy. Your teen may already have talked to you, may want to talk in the near future, or it may be some time before he or she wants to discuss it. Regardless of the timing, we hope that the following links may contain information that will help you guide and comfort your student.
School Social Work Association of America
American Academy of Pediatrics – Resources to Help Parents, Children and Others Cope in the Aftermath of School Shootings
Massachusetts General Hospital for Children – Talking To Children About A Shooting
Child Mind Institute – Caring For Kids After A School Shooting
As always, if you have comments, concerns or questions, feel free to contact me, Associate Superintendent Al Fleming, LHS Principal Marina Scott, or VHHS Principal Ellen Cwick.
Prentiss G. Lea, Ph.D.