Dear Staff and Families:
The horrific events of the past week have shattered our sense of safety.
The Boston Marathon attack devastated this nation and the world.
Watching a nineteen year old murderer, a graduate of RInge and Latin
High School in Cambridge, left us pondering, "How could this happen?"
My 83 year old mother sat in lock down in Belmont alone as no one could
get through to her. My aunt, 86 years old, was locked down alone in
Watertown in a quiet neighborhood, just two streets away from where the
terrorist was found. As citizens of the world watched in disbelief, it
just didn't seem possible that this could really be happening right in
our own backyards.
Given my own shock, I am wondering how our children are handling this
traumatic event. As much as we try to protect the students from the
horrors that have unfolded, it seems impossible in this day of social
media to protect them from this "day of infamy".
We must acknowledge that most students have learned about the bombing,
whether it is from home or their peers. For this reason, staff needs to
be prepared to talk to students on Monday morning and watch for signs
of stress as well. We need to work together to build a sense of normalcy
for our children.
The school staff will try to have as normal a day as possible on Monday.
Our job is to make sure that students feel safe and engage in regular
activities. In the younger grades, children may not know about the
events that unfolded while others do. Teachers should limit
conversations with the little ones and remind students that the adults
are there to protect them. In the upper elementary grades, students may
have more information, so teachers should be prepared to have brief
conversations and then get classes back to normal. Middle school and
high school students will arrive to school with a plethora of
information, so all secondary teachers who have classes first period
should plan to discuss the event with students. Please see the links
below for specific information on how to deal with tragedy and talk with
children of different ages.
I fully understand what a difficult time it will be for teachers on
Monday morning. Many of us are dealing with our own shock and grief,
but still need to be present and reassuring for our students. Monday
morning is an example of what makes teachers heroes, as they are the
ones who will once again pick up the pieces and make the world a better
place for our students. I can give no script, I cannot predict the
questions, I cannot take away the horror---but I can assure parents that
our teachers will provide Herculean efforts as they strive to bring
children through yet another surreal, traumatic event.
Our prayers are with the victims, the families, the first responders,
the medical teams and the teachers. Our thanks go to those who assisted
in the first few hours and to those who now assist in the aftermath. I
am confident that our staff will make the world feel a bit safer and
more normal come Monday morning.
Finally, here are three articles that teachers and parents may want to
read in order to speak to children about the Boston Bombing. The links