In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Great Valley School District superintendent Alan Lonoconus issued a letter to parents. In it, he reassures
The full letter is online at gvsd.org and reprinted below:
As we prepare to return to school tomorrow following the shooting in Connecticut, I am looking for your continued partnership. Please talk to your children today or tonight to reassure them that they are safe; reinforce that their bus driver, teacher, principal and other adults at school care deeply about their well being. Please continue – as I know you have begun – to speak with your children about the feelings they may have in reaction to this recent and tragic event. While there are no easy answers to the many questions being asked around this tragedy, events like this provide us with the opportunity to model calm and caring behavior as we help our children understand. We should also remind them that, as the adults in their lives, we do everything we can to keep them safe.
I also take this opportunity to remind you of the safety procedures we have in place. All of our schools are locked and visitors can only enter through the main office at each building. Teachers and administrators are aware of protocols to follow in case there is ever an intruder in one of our schools. Additionally, our students and staff participate in lockdown drills each year. Over the last three months, we have been proactively updating our District Safety Plan and have an emergency “table top” exercise scheduled for this spring where we will look at additional ways to increase the safety of our schools. Certainly, the input I have received from parents and Board members will be part of our future considerations.
If you have questions or need support in talking to your children, I encourage you to contact your school principal and/or counselor. I have also included some resource links below from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP):
- "Helping Children Cope With Tragedy" Report to Parents
- "Coping With Loss" (magazine article)
- "A Death in the Family" (magazine article)
- For additional information: National Association of School Psychologists
As your superintendent, I echo the statement made by the NAESP: “Principals, teachers and administrators all across our country are mourning for their fallen colleagues and are feeling the unbearable loss of precious children. We pledge to do everything we can to strengthen laws and policies aimed at keeping our children safe and secure in our nation's schools and communities."
I have always admired the way this school community comes together in times of needs. My hope is that this event brings us even closer, as a community, and as families.
Alan J. Lonoconus
Superintendent of Schools
Candle-Lighting Service for Sandy Hook