February 20, 2018
Dear Adams14 Families,
Sadly, we all recently heard the shocking news that another school shooting occurred. This time it was in Florida. Our thoughts immediately went out to the families of the 17 slain victims, all those injured and the community.
I’m sure that as parents, you wondered if such a tragic event could possibly happen in Commerce City. As all of the school safety experts around the nation tell us, there’s no place immune to such events. But what I also can tell you is that we have taken several proactive steps to really support our children and check any early warning signs of potential danger. Our schools start the day with a social/emotional block where students and teachers have an opportunity to talk about things going on in their lives and around the world. Teachers also help students set the tone for the learning day.
We also have a strong relationship with the Commerce City police department and other law enforcement agencies where we work in cooperation to keep our students safe. We also help school resource officers get to know our students and cultivate personal relationships so students feel comfortable sharing any information about things that could lead to problems. That allows school administration and police to intervene in the situation.
We also rely on the over 400 caring educators who work with students every day. So many students turn to teachers when they need help dealing with tough life situations.
We are so fortunate to have caring and attentive parents and families that work with their children to help them make sense of such terrible events. Here are some tips for having conversations with your child.
- Reassure them they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate that their feelings are okay.
Encourage them to talk about their feelings so you can help them put them into perspective.
- Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide to how much information to share. Be patient. Children and youth are not always readily willing to share their feelings. Watch for clues that they want to talk such as if they hang around more when you’re doing the dishes or doing work outside. Encourage them to express their feeling by talking with you or other trusted adults, or through music, art or imaginative play.
- Elementary students should get brief, simple explanations balanced with reassurance that they are safe at school and at home.
- Older children may have strong feelings about school violence and ways to prevent tragic incidents. Reinforce the role students have in maintaining a safe environment by following school rules and participating in school safety drills.
Students always have access to the Safe2Tell Hotline, 1-877-542-7233 or log onto safe2tell.org, Anyone can anonymously report anything that makes them feel threatened or unsafe at school or in the community. We appreciate your continued support of your child and the Adams 14 School District.
Dr. Javier Abrego, Superintendent