Last night, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice said:
I am so sorry to send this message this evening. I just wish I had something magical to say that would console and comfort the heartache so many in our community feel in the aftermath of the massacre of young children in a Texas elementary school today.
But I do not. There is nothing I can say to ease that heartache. I can only feel that pain along with you. I have struggled since 6 p.m. this evening, trying to conjure up words of comfort. But for now, along with you, I just hurt.
However, I want to assure each member of our community that when the bell rings in the morning, we will be ready to receive our students, your children, with the care and responsibility that professional educators embody. Our team will be ready. Many of us will give an extra long hug to our own children this evening, even the teenagers, and again in the morning before we leave. But we will be ready.
This evening our director of psychological services, Dr. Valerie Babich, has mobilized, along with her team and the entire district administrative team, to provide guidance for each of our levels: elementary, middle and high school. I want to assure parents of young children that discussion of this topic will not be initiated at the elementary level. However, we are working at this moment to organize and provide guidance and resources so our faculty are ready in the morning.
Principals are working right now to plan how to disseminate information to teachers so that they are prepared to handle this in their classrooms. In the era of social media and young children with access to smartphones, we cannot be assured of protecting them from exposure to this horror. As a result, we are doing our best to equip our teachers to acknowledge their feelings, reassure them of their safety by reviewing all of the measures in place to keep our schools safe, while not talking about the unspeakable tragedy in our elementary schools.
Many children from all levels will question why this happened. There is no good answer to that question, and we will not try to answer it. But again, we will acknowledge feelings and reassure students of their safety at school by emphasizing the many measures we take to ensure safety.
Dr. Babich and her team will work this evening with the administration at our middle and high schools to plan an appropriate response and provide guidance to faculty and staff. In addition, by the end of the day tomorrow we will send out resources to families that guide parents through discussions on this topic with their children.
Finally, I have been in touch with our chief of police, Foti Koskinas. I have requested a police presence at all of our schools tomorrow, which he immediately honored. Our schools are not at risk, yet this collaboration and support with our local police department is reassuring for many in our community. We will continue to partner with our police department to maintain the highest of safety standards in our drills and protocols.
We will do our best tomorrow. We will be professionals and rise up to support our students. We all hurt right now, but when the bell rings in the morning, we will be ready.