Dear Roeper Community,
I know the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, like the shootings at Sandy Hook, Columbine, and the dozens of other schools, weighs heavily on every parent’s mind. The safety and care of our children is something we as adults reflect upon every day as children leave our homes each morning. We see the fragile nature of life, the pain of loss, and feel a profound need to hold our children more tightly.
Students may be frightened by what they hear on the news. Parents may feel uncertain about how to address children’s concerns; we carry anxieties of our own. This is a time to take special care of each other, to be mindful of the way each of us processes tragedy. If we are to make a difference for the broader community, we must begin by taking care of our own health and well-being, and then work together to care for our friends and neighbors.
To provide guidance, I have included a list of resources to help you and your family talk about tragedies with children. Please know that Bob Simon and Reanne Young, our School counseling team, are available to talk, as are the academic directors and I.
Every day we support and nurture our students; we work to guide them toward resilience and independence. They will look to us, and each other, not just for emotional support, but for ways to help make our world smarter and safer – it is our children’s way of trying to repair something that does not make sense.
We know it is not enough to have school crisis teams, safety drills, and first responder training – but we do this because it is prudent and appropriate for the times in which we live. Our children deserve a community where they can go to school without worry from harm and threat of violence. In our philosophy, Annemarie Roeper talked about the promise we make to our children. She said it is up to us, “To keep the unspoken promise made by teachers and parents to their children and to fulfill their unspoken expectations of us. And in order to do this, to create a living and learning environment which supports their inner strength to cope with the world and to make an impact on it.” In taking Annemarie’s words to heart, let us make our children’s health and wellbeing the core promise we uphold.
David H. Feldman
Head of School
Resources in the Aftermath of the Parkland Shooting
- Talking to Children About Tragedies (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Helping Kids After a Shooting (American School Counselor Association)
- Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)
- Helping Children Cope with Frightening News (Child Mind Institute)
- Helping Children Cope with Terrorism – Tips for Families and Educators (National Association of School Psychologists)