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Bedford Central Responds to Newtown Shooting

Bedford schools Superintendent Jere Hochman writes to the community in wake of tragedy in nearby Newtown, CT.

Bedford Central schools Superintendent Jere Hochman reacted  

Talking with Patch, Hochman said his first reaction to it is "incredible concern" and thinking about what people in the community are going through.

The shooting did not result in a local security risk. The district did not go into any lock down, Hochman said, and out of the three police departments whose jurisdictions include school buildings, he knew of only Pound Ridge police increasing security for the purpose. The district was in touch with multiple police departments, however. 

The concern, Hochman explained, is for the district's kids, and also in preparing to support students and staff who may have ties to the Newtown area, given the town's proximity to the district. Hochman also anticipates that the district may need to respond to the situation again on Monday when schools are in session again.

Below is a copy of a letter that Hochman sent out to the community:

Dear Parents:

We are all saddened and shocked by the tragedy in Connecticut today.   As your children return home and learn more over the weekend, the following links and suggestions may be helpful. 

We were all on a heightened alert today and aware that children may have relatives in a Connecticut school district.  This will continue as we move into school on Monday.  Whether a tragedy occurs across the country or nearby, our concern is always heightened.  And, as always, we will review our procedures and protocols which we do rehearse in a variety of ways throughout the year. 

Principals are developing their plans for school on Monday and preparing for our students’ return to school.

Please note the comments and links below that might be helpful:

It is also not wise to confront children with information that they may not understand or want to know. As with any sensitive subject, we must seek a delicate balance that encourages children to communicate: a balance between avoidance and con­frontation. This balance is not easy to achieve. It involves the following:

■ Trying to be sensitive to children's desires to communicate when they are ready.

■ Maintaining an openness that encour­ages children's attempts to communi­cate.

■ Listening to and accepting children's feelings.

■ Offering children honest explanations when we are obviously upset.

■ Answering questions in simple lan­guage appropriate for their age.

■ Trying to find brief, simple, and age-appropriate answers to children's questions; understandable answers which do not overwhelm them with too many words.

Perhaps most difficult of all, communicat­ing about death involves examining our own feelings and beliefs so that we can talk to our children naturally.”

From:  http://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/patient_education/pepubs/childeath.pdf

Resources

http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/griefwar.pdf

http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr369.shtml

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3754878

Sincerely,

Jere Hochman

Superintendent of Schools

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