The following message was sent to the CAIS community on Friday, December 14 in the wake of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut
We are sure by now most of you have heard about the tragic school shooting in Connecticut. It is difficult to imagine the pain and sorrow engulfing that community—our hearts go out to everyone affected. Senseless tragedies like this make us think about those most near and dear to us. While our own sense of vulnerability is heightened, we as parents and educators need to remain focused on our responsibility to provide the safest possible environment—emotionally and physically—for the children who depend on us.
In the coming days it will be important for us to be mindful of ways in which we can care for our kids. We urge you to restrict your children’s exposure to media coverage, which will be everywhere—television, the internet, print publications. We ourselves need to model calmness for our children and, if necessary and appropriate, reassure them of our protection. You should answer your children’s questions honestly but without going into graphic detail, and if they are upset, provide them with an empathetic, listening ear.
We would urge you to visit the crisis resources page from the National Association of School Psychologists website. There are many excellent guidelines for how adults can help children by creating a sense of safety and security.
We am sure many of you are wondering what measures we have in place to ensure the safest possible physical environment for your children. Earlier in the year, CAIS, FAIS and NCIS (our facilities manager and security provider) invited a professional security consulting firm to conduct an extensive safety assessment of all our campus sites. The assessment found that there are relatively few schools that take the issue of security as seriously as NCIS, and have created as safe and secure an environment as NCIS has. The assessment report was particularly complimentary of the NCIS security staff. Although we are reassured by the positive security report, we will continue to work together to review and improve our current emergency plans. Today’s tragic events highlight the importance of this work.
We are now preparing our staff on how to best work with our children if they bring up questions when they return to school on Monday.
I wish you a happy and safe weekend. Hug your children.
Head of School, CAIS
Head of School, FAIS