March 29, 2023
Dear Stillwater Community,
Our hearts go out to the Covenant School community in Nashville. The safety of our students is a top priority, so each time there is violence on a school campus, it prompts us to pause and reflect on the safety measures, such as our building security measures and our standard response protocol we have in place. This also reminds us how important our efforts are to invest in forming trusting relationships with and among students in our schools.
We are grateful for our partnerships with the NYS Police, the Stillwater Police Department, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and with our School Resource Officer Lyons, who works closely with us to be diligent and in tune with individuals who may be in distress so we can prevent violence and respond appropriately to any threat.
Because it is difficult to predict how anyone will react to a traumatic event, the best we can do is to be supportive and responsive to our students and staff, and their varied responses. Please know that our school counselors are available if they need extra support. Below are some resources.
Superintendent of Schools
- Reassure children are safe and emphasize schools are very safe. Validate their feelings, fears and anxieties.
- Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Make space and time available for children to talk about their feelings.
- Use developmentally appropriate explanations for such tragic events.
- Elementary school children will need brief, simple information balanced with reassurances of personal safety at home, school and with friends.
- Upper elementary and middle school children may be more vocal about their safety and well-being. They may need more reassurance about how schools are safe, and what schools are doing to ensure their safety. They may need assistance to separate reality from fantasy.
- High school students may have strong, varying opinions about causes of violence in schools, society, and suggestions on how to make schools safer.
- They can have a role in maintaining safe schools: See Something, Say Something.
- It is suggested to limit TV and social media exposure to these events. Footage can be disturbing. Be on the lookout for mood swings, altered behavior, increase in sleeplessness, or any other out-of-normal personality traits. These are signs to take notice and address in a loving manner.
- School support and counseling specialists will, as always, be made available for students and staff, as needed.
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers