In emails to Rochester Community Schools parents today, Superintendent Tresa Zumsteg offered words of advice and comfort for those struggling to make sense of the tragedy at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Here, in its entirety, is Zumsteg's statement:
"I know all of you are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the community of Newtown, Connecticut. As a parent, grandparent, or educator there is nothing that shatters our confidence in our ability to keep our children safe more than hearing about what has occurred in Newtown. The thought of someone killing innocent children is simply unbearable for us. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families, friends and neighbors of those who were taken from us today."
We know that you are asking yourself, how could this happen and what can we do to protect our children. While we believe that we have a safe environment, this devastating event gives us pause. We continually review our practices and reinforce the measures that we currently have in place to protect students and staff. We will remain vigilant and continue to work in partnership with our police liaison officers and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office."
We cannot imagine the pain that the families will experience over the next days and months but we know that their journey will be long. In this season of hope and caring we all need to take a moment to cherish and hug the ones we love."
In a separate email, Zumsteg shared an article written by Dr. Charles Fay of the Love and Logic Institute with helpful suggestions for talking to children about the tragedy. The document is attached to this article.