October 25, 2014
Dear Edmonds School District Families –
Over the last 24 hours, each of us in our own way has been processing the tragedy that occurred at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and that community. A team of school counselors and psychologists from our district were present at Marysville-Pilchuck High School on Saturday morning to assist, and will be throughout this week. Marysville School District officials released the following statement in the hours immediately after this tragedy: “When something happens to one of our children, it happens to all of us.” On behalf of our community, we are reaching out to them as well.
It is normal that events such as these cause all of us to question whether our own student is safe. I want to reassure you that every school day, the safety of your student is our utmost priority in the Edmonds School District. We regularly review our District and individual school response plans in the event of any incident that can impact our students’ physical and emotional well-being, and we are closely connected with local law enforcement.
We employ a full-time Safety Specialist. Recently, a new individual was hired to serve in that position. He is actively bringing new training, skills and experiences to each of our school communities to review and revise their emergency response plans. He is already meeting with each of the police jurisdictions to further develop our safety protocols and procedures. We will continue to review and update our plans to ensure safety and provide you updates throughout the school year.
The following are important as we respond to all of our students:
- Counselors advise parents to turn off or not closely monitor broadcast coverage of the shootings.
- Reassure children they are safe and that trustworthy adults are in charge. Tell them it is OK to be upset and to talk about their feelings. It’s OK to write poems, draw pictures or use other creative ways to express what they are feeling.
- Maintain a normal routine.
- Provide factual answers to children’s questions. Be calm and reassuring.
- Talk about school safety plans and the family’s safety plan.
- Children who have been through loss before may be more sensitive to the trauma, as well as students with mental health problems.
- Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games.
Attached is a more detailed resource from the National Association for School Psychologists for talking with your child about violence. Additionally, each of our school’s counselors and psychologists are prepared to support students when school resumes Monday.
Thank you for the support you are providing your families this weekend. As we prepare to start the school week, it is very reassuring knowing that all of us – staff, students, parents and community – are working together to keep our schools safe, and we appreciate your continued support.
Nick J. Brossoit, Ed.D.,