Responding to the Newtown tragedy: A message from President Dooher
Educators across Minnesota have been shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last Friday.
As I said on that day, our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the entire community; to the families who lost loved ones; to the heroic staff who prevented an even worse tragedy, in some cases sacrificing their own safety and lives; and most important, to the children who were lost and to their classmates who will need to heal in the wake of this senseless violence.
It is important that our colleagues and other community members in Newtown know that educators across the nation stand in heartfelt support for them. Please join me in sending your messages of condolence and support to the students, staff, teachers and community of Newtown.
I also know that, as educators and parents, we will face difficult conversations and frightened students and families after Friday’s events. Below are some resources on dealing with incidences of school violence, including how to talk to children about these events. Please pass these resources on to your members, especially those who are newer to the profession:
As we educators move forward amid this incredible sadness, we should remember that we must do whatever it takes to ensure our schools are as safe as possible for all students and staff, and to provide environments that are focused on teaching and learning. The list is long but it includes the things for which we have long advocated – fully funding schools and classrooms; restoring counseling and psychological services and other social services to schools; increasing access to and acceptance of mental health care; and increased education about school and societal violence.
This is an emotional time full of grief and reflection for educators, and the road to healing will be long. But I am confident that, as always, our statewide and nationwide community of educators will come together and support one another in our time of need.
December 17, 2012