Dr. Smith Addresses Safety After Sandy Hook Tragedy

Dr. Smith Addresses Safety After Sandy Hook Tragedy

Photo contributed.

Photo contributed.

From Dr. Kevin Smith, Superintendent of Bethel Schools–

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Care Givers:

It is my sincere hope that your child returns home today and reports that he or she had at least a mostly normal day. I was in each of the schools during the course of the day and observed firsthand the professionalism of our staff. These days are very difficult for all of us and these wounds will take much time to heal. I feel very confident in our teaching staff and know that they will continue to respond to our students’ needs appropriately as they continue to cope and attempt to come to some understanding of the horrific event in Newtown. After the first full day back at school, your child may have additional questions regarding the tragedy. Below are two links with information to assist you in responding your children.

Talking to Children about Disasters

Talking to Children about Difficult Subjects: Illness, Death, Violence and Disaster

As many of you saw, we had a strong police presence on campus during the morning transition and then several officers spent the entire day in the complex. I have been coordinating closely with Chief Finch and Captain Bruckenthal and they have committed to ensuring that the Bethel police will be a strong presence over the coming weeks. I am grateful to our police department for making officers available. They, too, are stretched as many officers have been providing support to Newtown since Friday.

The principals in each of the buildings coordinated over the weekend and met with their respective staffs prior to today’s start to ensure that we were as prepared as possible to respond appropriately to students’ needs. Our crisis teams were on alert and the counseling staff was prepared to meet with individual students as necessary. All of the principals reported that the day ran smoothly in each of the buildings and every staff member remains on high alert.

Mr. Germinaro, our Supervisor of Facilities, met with a school security contractor today and toured each of our facilities. They will be compiling a list of recommendations and we will take the appropriate actions. As I noted in the newsletter on Friday, we have a number of security measures currently in place. From the camera and buzzer systems at each of the lower schools to the extensive camera system at the high school, we are reinforcing all of our safety procedures and continuing to address gaps. Please know that your child’s safety is foremost on the minds of all BPS staff.

I would like to thank all of the parents who sent their children back to school today. In light Friday’s monstrous act, I know personally how extremely difficult it is to let your children out of your eyesight. I had the pleasure of attending Berry School’s sing-a-long this morning and was heartened to see such a strong parent turnout. Thank you for your presence today.

Finally, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support and a strong desire to assist those in Newtown. This is yet another example of the true character of the Bethel community. So many adults and students were in green and white today, it is clear that we all feel an aching to respond meaningfully. We have reached out to the leaders in Newtown to offer our support. As they reveal themselves I will share them with the community and appropriate agencies to coordinate a response. Please continue to offer your thoughts and prayers to the victims and families in our neighboring community.

Dr. Kevin Smith

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Posted on December 17, 2012, in Home. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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