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Woodinville Schools and Police React to Newtown, CT, School Shooting

District officials are assuring parents that student safety is a top priority and offering tips for communicating with children about the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

School officials and police in Woodinville reacted to the news of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, CT, Friday, where reportedly 27 people were killed, including 20 children.

Woodinville Police Chief Sydney Jackson told Patch Friday that her on duty patrol officers have made visits to local schools today and said it's been a busy day for the department's school resource officer. 

Northshore School District Superintendent Larry Francois sent the following message to parents Friday afternoon:

Dear Northshore Families:

It is with great sadness that I inform you that there was a school shooting this morning in Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Sandy Hook Elementary School students, families and staff due to this horrible tragedy and senseless loss of life.

Student safety is a top priority and Northshore School District has worked in conjunction with local emergency responders to develop extensive and thorough school safety plans that address a full-range of emergency situations. These plans are updated annually and our schools regularly practice emergency drills to ensure that we are prepared. An important way you can help support student safety is by following standard school safety protocols when visiting or dropping off or picking up your child.

A tragedy such as this can be upsetting for students and they could become increasingly nervous, scared or even agitated. Please talk with your child and find out how he/she is feeling. Below are some strategies to assist you in talking with your child about this incident:

  • Remain calm and reassuring—children model behavior and look to you for cues on how to react.
  • Turn off or monitor your child’s viewing of the incident on television as this can increase anxiety
  • and stress.
  • Reassure your child that he/she is safe.
  • Talk about the tragedy in an age-appropriate manner.
  • Stick to the facts—answer questions factually.
  • Listen and be responsive to your child’s concerns.
  • Help your child express his/her feelings and pay attention to changes in behavior.
  • Maintain normal routines—children need stability.

Additional resources to support you in talking with your child can be found online on the National Association of School Psychologists Web site at www.nasponline.org. If you need assistance in helping your child, please contact your child’s school office.

It takes parents, students, staff members and community working together to keep our schools safe places to learn and we appreciate your support.

Sincerely,
Larry Francois
Superintendent

Find additional tips from a local nonprofit for talking about this tragic event by clicking here.

The school district also provided this resource - Teenagers Experiencing Grief and Loss or Trauma.

Do you have tips for talking about these kinds of tragedies with children and teens? What will you tell your children? Tell us in comments.

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Ed Johnson December 15, 2012 at 06:01 PM
We reap what we sow as a society...We desensitize our kids by letting them play shoot ‘em up games for entertainment, or watching ‘raw’ TV, and when they can't sleep at night or develop behavior issues we put them on anti-depressant drugs which only make matters worse... (There is a direct correlation here between these drugs and suicidal rates, check it out!) It is time to wake up and start acting like responsible parents and teaching our kids how to be useful citizens and leaders in a changing world.

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