The following letter was sent to families in the Parkway School District following the elementary school shooting in Newton, Conn. today.
Dear Parkway Families,
By now, I am sure you have heard the horrific news of today’s shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones who have been impacted by this unthinkable tragedy. Our emotions today have reached many levels. As with you, we have felt horror and disbelief, as well as anger, fear and overwhelming sadness. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. These are our children, our future, and we are heartbroken.
We all have questions about how such a terrible thing could happen in our schools. In the days and weeks ahead, answers will be hard to come by because an event such as this is simply unexplainable.
I want to reassure you that there are many safeguards in place in Parkway Schools to protect your children and our teachers and staff. We have many adults who supervise our students and who are trained to observe unusual behavior. We also have a full-time security staff and school police officers who watch our campuses both inside and out all day long. They are well trained and prepared to assist on a moment’s notice. Our schools have crisis plans and teams who practice their drills frequently. We also have open and frequent communication with law enforcement agencies and do all we can to remain vigilant for the safety of students at all times.
All of these things help us to be alert to potential problems, but none are as important or as effective as the relationships we foster and nurture every day among our students, staff and parents. We teach our students that it is each individual’s responsibility to help care for one another and for the community as a whole. I am sure you do the same at home. If we see or hear something that is not in keeping with our beliefs or just doesn’t seem “right,” we must speak up and feel confident that the issue will be addressed. We do that very well in Parkway thanks to your help.
As our country mourns this nightmare and tries to find healing, we each need to be prepared to support, listen, care for and comfort those around us – especially our students. As we do this, we should be thankful for the blessings we have and most importantly for the strong sense of community that binds us here in our Parkway Schools.
We will be as safe as that bond is strong, and we will move forward together.