Dear North Colonie Community,
It is with a heavy heart that we write to you after the tragedy which took place in Uvalde, Texas yesterday. In less than two weeks since the Buffalo tragedy, in another act of senseless violence, twenty-one beautiful souls have been lost. The fact that this act represents yet another in a long line of school shooting tragedies is especially traumatizing for our students, families, and the adults who work with them. We are grief stricken and angry. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Uvalde school community and all those whose lives were changed in an instant.
We know that students today may be looking to you and us for reassurances, comfort, and understanding, and yet we all know that there’s not one universal way in which adults or children cope with or respond to tragedies. Emotions from fear to shock to anger likely impact us. The most important thing we can do is be there for them and each other. We should not put the burden on ourselves to have the right answers as we all know that there are no words that can explain a tragedy like this.
Today, in school, we will all show up, in our full humanity, and we will connect with your children and support them with gentleness, grace and compassion. We have met with school principals, counselors, psychologists, and social workers and they are prepared to provide additional support for students as needed. Classroom teachers have also been offered resources to help them support students. Our counselors, social workers, and psychologists stand at the ready to assist children and families who are struggling in the aftermath of these events. As you think about your children and how you can approach this topic, we share with you these resources which may be helpful:
These events are incomprehensible and they impact our sense of safety and security. It is important to emphasize with children what we can control. We can remind them that we keep doors locked at school, we have visitor protocols and a single point of entry, we work collaboratively with our community partners in the Colonie police department, and we’ve made significant building improvements to make our environments safer.
Today and each day forward, we can support our children and each other by seeing each other and hearing each other and welcoming each other into our loving community. As Toni Morrison once said, “it takes a whole community to raise a child.” Today, we will need the bonds of our North Colonie community which allow us to lean on one another so that we can support the children in front of us. Please remind your children that we are a community that takes care of one another, so if they or someone else is struggling they should speak up and an adult can be of support.
Please remember to take care and show yourself the same grace that you so generously show others, and do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance to you or your family.
D. Joseph Corr