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Letter: Stamford Schools Will Remain Vigiliant in this Trying Time

A letter from Dr. Winnie Hamilton, Superintendent to Stamford Public Schools.

 

Stamford Public School Families,

I know you all must be reeling from the tragic news that continues to unfold in Newtown. I want to assure you that we take every measure to ensure our buildings are safe and secure. We have a comprehensive safety and security plan in place. We regularly review those plans and practice both evacuation and lock-down drills to be sure our students and faculty understand how to react in an emergency. Additionally, we have security personnel and School Resource officers in our high schools.

On Friday, after learning of the tragedy in Newtown, I notified all principals and reminded them to be diligent in their security measures. In addition, I spoke with the Mayor, the city director of operation, the Stamford police chief and the director of security for Stamford Public Schools to ensure all of our safety procedures were in place and aligned. The Stamford Police provided extra patrols to our schools.

On Monday, all our principals, counselors and social workers will be available to provide additional support to help children and staff cope with increased anxiety or fear related to the tragedy.

It is difficult for all of us to deal with the kind of tragedy that occurred in Newtown. Many of you may be wondering how to talk to your children about this event. I can offer a few guidelines that I hope will be helpful:

  • Keep the TV news off and keep newspapers away from your children.
  • Try to tell your children about this event yourself.
  • Tell them they are safe.
  • Reassure them that the person who caused this tragedy cannot hurt anyone else. 

If you see any sign of anxiety or fear, contact a health professional. Here are some additional resources you may want to refer to:

www.kidsincrisis.org
www.familycenters.org
www.childguidancect.org
www.apa.org/helpcenter/aftermath.aspx
http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA12-4732/SMA12-4732.pdf

Going forward, we will continue to work with individual schools, city and government officials to refine our security strategies. Based on what we learn from this horrific incident, we will make further adjustments, if necessary. We will be sending out additional information next week about specific safety measures and social and emotional resources we have available for our school community.

Be assured that the safety of our children and staff is my top priority. All of our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in Newtown.

Sincerely,
Winnie Hamilton
Superintendent
Stamford Public Schools 

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