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Response to Boston Bombings

posted Apr 21, 2013, 5:15 PM by Dianne Georgantas
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 are:

http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/Helping_Children_Cope_With_Terrorism_2013.pdf

http://rems.ed.gov/docs/SAMHSA_TipsTalkingChildrenYouthTraumaticEvents.pdf

http://rems.ed.gov/docs/SAMHSA_ChildhoodTraumaticGriefForParents.pdf

Thank you,

Marie Doyle
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