Local school districts respond to Connecticut shooting - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local school districts respond to Connecticut shooting

Posted:

Eau Claire County (WQOW) - As the horrific news spread, local districts put plans into action.

Doors were locked at schools in the Eau Claire School District and photo ids were required for all visitors before they were buzzed in. The district says that this procedure will continue, indefinitely, until the superintendent changes it.

The Eau Claire school board president says the board may review its security procedures. But says she's confident in the district's current plan. President Obama may have said it best today, when he told the nation there's "not a parent in America who doesn't feel the overwhelming grief that I do."  It was difficult to watch some of the coverage today, and what may more challenging, as a parent, is to explain what has happened to your child.

The Eau Claire School District sent out an e-mail to all parents with some ideas on how to approach the subject.  Counselors say it's important to find out what your child knows, and listen first, then ask follow up questions.  

"It will naturally have caused fear, anxiety, questions in a child's mind no matter how old they are, and it's important for adults to communicate with children, give them the opportunity to share their feelings, share their fears, and to reassure them that adults are here to support them," says Robyn Criego, the Director of Special Education and Student Services.

Here's something else counselors told us: they say it's a good idea to monitor kids exposure to places where video and images of the tragedy will be shared, including social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

In Fall Creek, students were kept away from computers on Friday to make sure they didn't hear the news.  The school district says it takes student safety very seriously.

"Parents trust us with their most prized possessions every day and we take that very seriously.  And when things like this happen, you have to bring it close to home and feel like, what would you do in that kind of a situation?' questions Fall Creek Superintendent Joe Sanfelippo.  "Hopefully the parents know that we are doing everything we can to make sure the kids are safe."

Here is a link to the National Association of School Pyschologist's website, which has recommendations on how to talk to your kids about difficult situations like this.

**************

Here is the message sent out to Eau Claire parents:

As a result of the tragedy that occurred this morning in Connecticut, we want to communicate steps we are taking to help ensure the safety of staff and students.
 
All doors at school will be locked during the school day.  Check-in procedures are in place at all schools.  For instance, all visitors check in at the main office; photo IDs will be required for visitors who are unknown to staff.  If you have questions about security, please talk with your principal. All school functions will continue as scheduled. Our school safety plans have been reviewed. All reasonable precautions are being taken.
 
Please keep in mind that protecting our children is a community effort.  In many instances, persons who carried out a violent act told someone in advance of their intentions.  If you hear of such a threat, please report to a police officer or a school official. 
 
It's natural for children and teens to worry about whether this type of incident may someday affect them.  It is important for children to feel like they can share their feelings and know that their fears and anxieties are understandable. Talking with your children about these tragedies, and what they watch or hear about them, can put frightening information into context.
 
To calm fears about the news, families should be prepared to deliver what psychologists call "calm, unequivocal, but limited information."  This means delivering the truth, but in a way that fits the emotional level of your child.  The key is to be truthful, but not go into more detail than your child is interested or can handle. 
 
Encourage your children to talk openly about what scares them. Older children or teens might be less likely to accept an explanation at face value. If an older child is bothered about a story, help him or her cope with these fears.  An adult's willingness to listen will send a powerful message of reassurance to a child. 
 
Some points to keep in mind as you talk with children:
 
Find out what your child knows about the news.
Listen to what your child tells you.
Ask a follow-up question.
Shield children under age eight from disturbing news.
Avoid repeated TV viewings of the same news event.
Monitor older children's exposure to the news.
Develop an ongoing dialogue with your child about what's happening in the world.
 
School counselors are also available to assist families.  Please contact your student's counselor if you need additional support. 
 
We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Sandy Hook Elementary School community.

 

 

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WQOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's pubic inspection file should contact Director of Station Operations Lisa Patrow at 715-852-5920. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.