shortcutFeb 16, 2019
Shalmont Central School District
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From Superintendent Dr. Carol Pallas: The safety of our children is always our No. 1 priority

Dear Schalmont community,

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the community of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

When a tragedy such as the shooting in Parkland, Florida occurs, it forces us to reflect on what we can learn and remind ourselves of what we currently have in place.

Our building and district level safety planning committees constantly review our current practices related to school safety.

As a result of their efforts, the district has enhanced safety practices and protocols over the years including:

A large part of dealing with a tragedy such as this is constant, open communication – not just between the school and community, but between you and your children as well. Your children may feel anxious or confused about the events in Florida. Dealing with upsetting news can be difficult for parents and students, so we’re providing the following tips in the hopes they will make discussing stressful situations a little easier:

Limit the exposure.

The news is a 24-hour business, and major events are shown repeatedly. Seeing the scenes again and again might lead children to believe that traumatic events are an everyday occurrence. All of us, but particularly children, have a limit to the graphic images we can tolerate. Turn off the TV and limit exposure to images and sounds that may upset children.

Explain what happened.

If your child asks for an explanation to something they see, use language and words he or she can easily understand. Explain the basics – just what’s appropriate for their age level. For young children, what they see on TV they understand to be happening nearby. Help them understand that the news they see is not happening at their own school.

Keep calm.

Your children will look to you for guidance in the event of upsetting news. If they are upset, acknowledge their fears and reassure them that you will do everything you can to keep them safe.

Take their fears seriously.

If their behavior changes after seeing or hearing about a major news event, they may be trying to process the information. Encourage your children to talk about what they are thinking. Hearing their perspective will help you decide how much information you want to share. Then help them understand that their fears and concerns are normal by sharing how you felt when you heard about the event.

Learn together.

Some older children may want to learn more about the event. It may help relieve their fears to talk about it with you.

Keep your regular schedule.

If your child is upset by an event they saw in the news, keep your day-to-day schedule as normal and routine as possible. If bedtime or leaving for school becomes difficult transitions for your child, spend some extra time helping him or her for a few days.

Look for the positive.

Talk with your children about the people who come to help those in trouble instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the event.

As always, we are here for you and your children. We appreciate your concern and support as we work as a school community to understand these tragedies.


Dr. Carol A. Pallas