The spring in Colorado is one of my favorite times, but it was a rough week returning to school. I am just heartbroken about the recent shooting at the Covenant School In Nashville. Less than a week since I sent my community letter about the terrible school shooting at East High School, we learn again about the senseless deaths of three nine-year-olds and three dedicated school employees. I just cannot comprehend why we as a society continue to allow this to happen in the United States. Nearly every day throughout this nation, parents, students, and teachers think about the potential of a school shooting, and a majority of Americans want to see change. A poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research “shows 71% of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, including about half of Republicans, the vast majority of Democrats, and a majority of those in gun-owning households.”
These events do spark fear. As much as our kids and faculty tried to get back into their routines, it was top of mind for many. The National Association of School Psychologists has a helpful guide for how to talk to your child about school shootings, and I would encourage families to review this resource.
A couple of key pieces of advice are to make sure you pay attention to your child’s emotional state in the aftermath of such an event. It’s also important to make sure you limit exposure to videos and media coverage, particularly for young children. Each child and adult will react differently, and it’s important to note that our children are learning of multiple mass shooting events every week. In this month alone, 57 people have died in 38 mass shootings and more than 130 have been injured. Hearing over and over again of these tragedies can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and a sense of hopelessness. Be sure to take time to process this with your child, and if you need any help, our counseling team is standing by.
Starting Monday, we will have our new gate system installed at the front entrance of the school. We are going to ask your patience when coming to campus—all visitors will have to check in. We ask that you wear your ID badges every time you are at school—these are so helpful for us to identify who belongs here. We also want you to share with our team any concerns or observations you might have. There is a lot that we do behind the scenes, and we typically review our protocols and procedures after such a terrible event; however, we need to do our best to protect our community. That means knowing our protocols and being vigilant.
No student should have to live in fear, nor have to think about such a tragedy. My heart goes out to those families in Nashville who have been so impacted. We are grateful for the actions and professionalism of the Nashville Police who bravely entered that building to stop harm. I hope our nation can come together to protect our children. America needs to do better.