Southfield (WWJ)- Three days after 20 children were shot and killed in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, local school administrators are sending out word to parents and students that their buildings are safe.

In a letter sent Sunday to parents at Buchanan Elementary, principal Marjorie Moore said “like all of you, my heart is hurting for the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Please know that we will continue to surround your children with love and care, as we do every day, but especially when we see them on Monday.”

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Livonia Public Schools Superintendent Randy A. Liepa also sent a letter to parents in response to the tragedy. In the letter, Liepa says “As parents, we know your thoughts immediately turn to your own children and their well-being. We want you to know that in place at each of our schools is an emergency crisis plan, procedures for security lockdowns, and the use of an entrance security system (door buzzing at elementary and middle schools; police liaison officers at each high school). These procedures have been in place for some time, and are reviewed with staff and students periodically. Of course, we will be conducting a thorough review of these plans. Most importantly, we have school leaders and staff who are highly committed, caring individuals to work with our students each day.”

In a letter sent to parents Friday, Ferndale Public Schools Superintendent Gary Meier wrote “regarding safety, it is important to me that you all know that we take school safety seriously across the Ferndale Schools. We have created protocols and drills to keep our schools safe and secure. Our top priority is the safety and protection of the children of this district.”

The district has two police liaison officers and a close relationship with the Ferndale Police Department.

There is information available for parents on what to say or how to support children.  Click here for that information.

Among other things, the National Association of School Psychologists says:

All Adults Should:
1.Model calm and control.  Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives. Avoid appearing anxious or frightened.

2.Reassure children that they are safe and (if true) so are the other important adults in their lives. Depending on the situation, point out factors that help insure their immediate safety and that of their community.

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3.Remind them that trustworthy people are in charge.  Explain that the government emergency workers, police, firefighters, doctors, and the military are helping people who are hurt and are working to ensure that no further tragedies occur.

4.Let children know that it is okay to feel upset.  Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy like this occurs.  Let children talk about their feelings and help put them into perspective.  Even anger is okay, but children may need help and patience from adults to assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.

5.Observe children’s emotional state.  Depending on their age, children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of grief, anxiety or discomfort.  Children will express their emotions differently. There is no right or wrong way to feel or express grief.


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