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Finding the Helpers

posted Dec 18, 2012, 1:23 PM by website team

By now you have heard about the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  As a parent, my heart aches for those involved in this tragedy. Twenty children and six caring adults lost their lives and we mourn their loss. As your superintendent/principal, I want to assure you that USD #386 Madison-Virgil considers school safety a top priority.  Your kids are our kids - a trust we do not take lightly. We have a comprehensive crisis plan which includes protocols for our students and staff in situations of crisis.  School safety procedures are reviewed and updated annually.

           I would like to share with you some tips from the National Association of School Psychologists for assisting children with tragic situations:

  1. Focus on your children over the week following the tragedy.  Tell them you love them and everything will be okay. Try to help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.
  2. Make time to talk with your children.  Remember if you do not talk to your children about this incident someone else will. Take some time and determine what you wish to say.
  3. Stay close to your children. Your physical presence will reassure them and give you the opportunity to monitor their reaction. Many children will want actual physical contact.  Give plenty of hugs.  Let them sit close to you, and make sure to take extra time at bedtime to cuddle and to reassure them that they are loved and safe. 
  4. Limit your child’s television viewing of these events.  If they must watch, watch with them for a brief time; then turn the set off.  Don’t sit mesmerized re-watching the same events over and over again.
  5. Maintain a “normal” routine. To the extent possible stick to your family’s normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don’t be inflexible.  Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.
  6. Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children before bed.  These activities are calming, foster a sense of closeness and security, and reinforce a sense of normalcy. Spend more time tucking them in.  Let them sleep with a light on if they ask for it.
  7. Safeguard your children’s physical health.  Stress can take a physical toll on children as well as adults.  Make sure your children get appropriate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
         We have to make sure our kids feel safe. We are doing everything we can to protect our students and we need your help to ensure their emotional safety as we move forward. In the words of Fred Rogers - "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers -- so many caring people in this world."

May we all find peace in this season, 


Ryan Bradbury