Dear fellow B-P parents,
There are no words. There are simply no words.
As I write this message to you with eyes filled with tears, I know many of you are also carrying heavy hearts today because of the loss of young lives that occurred yesterday at a Texas elementary school.
Looking back over the years, it seems that every school district leader across the country has sent this type of message to their communities too many times in the days following a school tragedy.
How many times do we have to do this?
History shows that in the weeks and months ahead, we will conduct community forums, discuss ways we can be more secure in our buildings, and spend millions of dollars on the next best school safety gadget. Politicians will act like they care and debate laws that are supposed to protect our schools, to no avail. We will hope that it never happens in our community and, eventually, return back to normal. It is an unfortunate pattern that repeats itself over and over again in our country.
While we might debate possible solutions to school shootings, research does point to one factor that has a significant impact on preventing such tragedies: PRESENCE. I tell our faculty and staff all the time how important it is to be aware of our surroundings and the signs and signals that our students might show us regarding their mental state. It is vitally important that we show our students — ALL of our students — that they are valued members of our community. I truly believe that a school filled with students who feel loved and valued is the safest school to attend. And today, like every day, our faculty and staff came to work laser-focused on the children in our care.
Some of you might have woken up this morning anxious about sending your children to our schools. Many of you might be struggling to talk with your children about this tragedy and reassure them, even if you don’t completely believe the words you’re saying. I’m sure, like me, you’ll hug your children a little tighter in the days and weeks to come.
But I hope you also make a commitment to practicing presence in your home, just as we have made that commitment in our schools. In our busy day-to-day lives, it’s too easy to get caught up in the things we “have” to do. So, as we head into this Memorial Day weekend, please consider slowing down and really being present with your children. No matter their age, talk with them about their hopes, their dreams, their fears. Spend some time having meaningful conversations with them about life.
And if, through those conversations, your child reveals that they are not OK, please know that you are not alone. We are here to help you and your family. Reach out to your child’s teacher, principal, school counselor, or social worker — we are all here for you.
- Talking to children about violence: Tips for parents and teachers (NASP)
- What to say to kids when the news is scary (NPR)
- How to talk to kids about school shootings (Child Mind Institute)
BPES Student Support Services Staff
- Lauren O’Donnell, Social Worker – 518-954-2671
- Andrea Hamill, Social Worker – 518-954-2781
- Sarah Gabriel, School Counselor – 518-954-2740
- Shelby Parker, School Counselor – 518-954-2706
- Rebecca Reynolds, School Psychologist – 518-954-2702
B-P Jr./Sr. High Student Support Services Staff
- Julie Lapham, Mental Health Counselor – 518-954-2711
- Marshall Gottung, Social Worker – 518-954-2625
- Stephanie Hotaling, School Counselor – 518-954-2654
- Jennifer Steele, School Counselor – 518-954-2722
- Jennifer Grimmick, School Counselor – 518-954-2622
- Charla Simonson, School Counselor – 518-954-2623
- Erin Compani, School Psychologist – 518-954-2614