Long Branch School District Superintendent Michael Salvatore issued the following statement to parents today in the wake of last week's school shooting in Newtown, CT:
Dear Long Branch Public School Family,
During a season which many refer to as “the most wonderful time of the year”, our spirit is tested with unimaginable tragedy. As parents and educators we cannot make sense of the recent events in Connecticut, which makes it even more difficult to explain to our ever curious children. As a father and an educator, this has been an emotional weekend, which many of you would agree. When hugging our loved ones we may have held on a bit longer and squeezed a little harder, bringing to our attention what matters most.
Above all, the wellbeing and safety of our children remain our top priority. In 2001, the district began the implementation of emergency preparedness plans for each school, which are revised annually and aligned with the Office of Homeland Security protocols. These comprehensive safety plans include several components, including but not limited to, quick response booklets for teachers in each classroom; automatic locking features on each exterior door; limited visitor access to designated entrances only; first responder contact information; and monthly training drills for staff and students. All of these protocols and exercises were developed to provide the best security measures possible within our means.
Talking to children who have questions about societal violence can be difficult; however, children need to be able to ask questions to adults without feeling insecure. Therefore, we have crisis teams with licensed professionals at each school ready to address any questions that may arise. Resources are also available to assist you, should questions arise beyond the school day. The traumatic loss coalition outlines tips for parents and educators, which can be found by visiting the following link at http://ubhc.umdnj.edu/brti/TLC/guidelines/HelpingChildrenSchoolViolence.htm.
In closing, the East Coast has endured yet another heartbreaking incident. As we rebuild from the storm and attempt to rationalize the unthinkable, we must help our children find the life lessons in each event. My heart and thoughts are with those directly impacted. Let’s continue to move forward as we prepare for the holiday season and hope for a touch of greatness in 2013.
As always, with care,