Schools in the Fridley area continue to grapple with the impact of the Dec. 14, 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT. Some districts issued statements soon after, such as Spring Lake Park Schools and Anoka-Hennepin.
Tuesday and Wednesday, four and five days after the faraway school massacre, came new local messages from Columbia Heights and Anoka-Hennepin school districts, as well as Totino-Grace High School, where students wore green and white and prayed at lunchtime in support of Sandy Hook School.
Connecticut Tragedy Affects Us All
Dear Parent or Guardian,
It has been a difficult weekend watching the continuing news from Connecticut. For many of us, so much of our time has been spent thinking about families we do not know, of families who will now occupy our thoughts and sympathies for some time to come. Our hearts go out to all in the Newtown, Connecticut school community affected by Friday's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Please be assured that in the Columbia Heights Public School District student safety is our top priority. Our schools and district have a comprehensive crisis plan in place to help avoid similar tragedies. Our schools are safe places, and our school staff work with parents and public safety providers to keep children safe.
We are sure that the event of last Friday may have been discussed in many of your homes throughout the weekend, and will continue to be in the days to come. For that reason we are sharing helpful tips provided through the National Association of School Psychologists website: http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/terror_general.aspx
If you have concerns about your child's reaction to these events please contact your child's principal, teacher, or school social worker for assistance. During difficult events it is all the more important that we respond with care and concern as a community.
Kathy L. Kelly Superintendent
If you would like this information in Spanish, please contact Ivonne Padilla at 763-528-4536.
Totino-Grace High School (from Facebook, posted on Wednesday):
Totino-Grace students and staff wore green and white today in support of the Sandy Hook Elementary School community. During each lunch hour, the following prayer was shared among all students and staff in the commons:
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we cry out in shared grief and pain for the loss of the many children and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
We ask you to welcome these innocent souls into your loving arms.
We pray for peace within the hearts of the families left behind and for the community in mourning.
We call upon your forgiving spirit for the person responsible.
We pray for understanding for those who knew and loved him.
Let the prayers and love of our Totino-Grace community and the whole nation be consolation for those whose lives are devastated beyond measure.
St. John Baptist De La Salle and Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger,
pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts,
Student safety is first priority
We want to reassure you that student safety remains Anoka-Hennepin School District's first priority. School administrators have put a lot of work into safety planning and have provided staff with crisis training. Anoka-Hennepin has a district crisis team based on a federal model and each school building has a crisis team with specific roles for key staff.
Each school crisis team meets regularly to evaluate their crisis plan and each school conducts several lockdown drills throughout the year to ensure all school staff know what to do. After each drill, they meet to discuss how the drill went and to make improvements if needed.
We work closely with local law enforcement on a regular basis so they are prepared if called to respond to a crisis.
After each tragedy such as this, federal law enforcement makes recommendations for improving safety practices. Our lockdown drills and much of our crisis planning is the result of those recommendations. Any new recommendations that may come from this recent tragedy will also be added to our plans if necessary.
We want to reassure you that our schools remain safe and we will do our utmost to protect the children entrusted to us.