As students return to school today, I wanted to address Friday’s school shootings and its impact on our kids. There are some families who have chosen to shield their children from media reports of this incident over the weekend. There are other families who have chosen to let their children see images and hear these stories on TV, the internet, and in the newspaper, and openly discuss those horrific events. It is those kids who might need to “download” what they’ve seen and heard over the weekend. If you have individual students who seem overly preoccupied with Friday’s news, or otherwise seem fearful or anxious about being at school, I will make myself available to listen to them over the next three days.
There is no rational way to explain what happened on Friday. I would like to be able to tell any of these kids that the grownups at West Park aren’t going to let anybody hurt them. However, that would seem to dishonor and discredit those brave educators in Connecticut who couldn’t do the same for the children that were entrusted to them. The last thoughts those people had were of protecting those kids.
What I can tell our kids is that we have grownups here at West Park who love them and do everything in their power to make sure every day is a great day, full of learning and growth and opportunity. Because that is exactly what I see: A staff of professionals dedicated to each and every student, day in and day out, doing whatever it takes. Never underestimate the importance that the relationships you are developing with your students, and its impact on their lives.
Fred Rogers, one of the smartest guys who ever lived, said it best:
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.
You can see more of his words of wisdom here: http://goo.gl/GYfwj.