We are deeply saddened by the tragic news regarding a school shooting earlier today at an elementary school in a small town in Texas. Our thoughts are with the Uvalde community and the families of those who lost their lives or were injured.
We recognize that news such as this can be shocking and can have a deep impact on school communities. We also know that such a tragic occurrence may bring school safety and security to the forefront of your mind. We want to reassure our community that schools are safe places, and we are always looking for ways to reinforce and improve the effectiveness of our district safety measures. These include securing our campus entrances and entrance securing systems, practice and regular review of physical security and emergency procedures, along with a close partnership with our local police.
As always, we ask families to be our partners in safety. Students are urged to speak up about any threat or other information that is concerning to them. They can tell a trusted adult at school or report information anonymously to Safe Oregon via text, call or email. Always notify the school if you know of an unsafe situation, and call 911 first if it is an emergency. Check in at the front office if you will be at the school, and if you see anyone unauthorized on campus tell school staff right away. Please also talk with your students about how to be safe at home, in your neighborhood, and on the way to and from school. Be alert to potential dangers. Provide the school office with your complete current contact information—if there is ever an emergency we will use email, mobile phones, home phones, websites or other communication to notify you with accurate information as quickly as we can.
If staff find themselves troubled by this tragic event or by any other concerns, free, confidential counseling and support is available through the district’s employee assistance program (EAP) provider.
Events like these also raise questions and fears in children. Families and staff can help children feel safe by talking with them openly if they have fears, establishing a sense of normalcy and security, and reassuring them that schools are safe places and dangerous events are rare. If families need support to help guide their discussion of these events with their children, they may find these resources of help:
- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers – National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
- Helping Children With Tragic Events in the News – PBS for Parents
I know you join us in sending our deepest sympathy to the community of Uvalde, Texas, that is grieving this terrible event. Thank you for caring for yourselves and each other, as well as for our students.