Important News from our Principal!
Washington and the district are all deeply saddened by he tragedy in Connecticut. I feel that the most important thing for you to know is how we keep the students safe at school.
During this week we will have several parents visiting for special events, including the parties on Thursday. Please remember to come through the office and sign in. I am so grateful for your patience when procedures change, but please remember that we are always thinking about what is best for the security of students.
All of the teachers met Monday morning, and we have reviewed our daily procedures. We are going to increase our vigilance about keeping all doors locked, even if it is inconvenient for the teachers and other adults to move in and out of the building.
We have had safety drills on fire, tornadoes, and intruder drills. We have crisis folders for each classroom with specific plans and directions on how to handle emergencies. The counselor and I have had training on keeping the school safe. We are very lucky to have a working relationship with the Norman Police Department, and they have increased their presence around the buildings. We will continue to talk about and refine our plans, with updated information from the district and the Norman Police.
I want to assure you that we take safety issues very seriously, and our intention is to always put the childrens' safety and security first. Monday we instructed teachers to answer any questions, but to not initiate discussions about the Connecticut event. We feel that should be left up to parents. Mrs. Bui and I have been available for any children who seemed anxious or needed any special help. And of course, Sunshine was at school, if student's needed her calming presence.
Included below is a message I received from the Oklahoma Bombing Memorial. I found it very helpful.
We want to wish each of your families a happy and safe holiday. Thank you for the trust you have in us to provide an appropriate, yet safe learning environment for all of the Washington students. Please call me at 366-5984 if you you have any further questions.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Connecticut as, tragically, another community is experiencing the impact of violence. We are offering resources and assistance from our own Lessons Learned in dealing with the trauma and grief that come from such tragedy. Dr. Robin Gurwitch, an international expert on child grief, trauma and disaster mental health, worked with the Oklahoma City community following the bombing in 1995 and continues to work with Memorial staff as we reach out to those affected by this act of violence.
Both the American Psychological Association website and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website provide resources for talking with children about shootings and psychological first aid. Links and other resources are listed below.
Psychological First Aid (PFA) For Children & Parents
Psychological First Aid (PFA) For Students & Teachers
Helpful Hints (PFA) For Students And Teachers
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
620 N. Harvey Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73102