Educationally Speaking – Jan 2013 – We need to recognize students’ needs

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has impacted the Fallbrook Union High School District. First, I am proud of the outpouring of thoughts and prayers for the families, loved ones, and the community of Newtown. Expressions of sympathy and empathy have also included students writing letters, sharing poems, drawing pictures, or sharing something special from their hearts. These thoughts are being forwarded to the Newtown community.

The tragedy is serving as a reminder to be very sensitive to the welfare of our students. For those students who are experiencing challenges and difficulties, we need to be willing to recognize their needs and offer help. This includes, but is not limited to, reducing/eliminating bullying and harassment.

Unfortunately, the tragedy also served as a catalyst for some to start rumors or make threats of harm to our students. In response, the school administration worked closely with the Fallbrook Sheriff’s department to determine the source and credibility of the information we received. It was mutually determined that there were not any credible threats, so our schools did not go into a lockdown situation. The Sheriff’s department also had a high visibility on our campuses and throughout the community during this period.

The safety of our students and staff remains a top priority. If there are credible threats to their welfare, stronger intervention strategies, such a lockdown, will be implemented. We understand the parent and community concerns for the welfare of our students given the recent tragedy in Connecticut. We will strive to be empathetic to concerns while understanding that, absent a viable threat, we will focus our attention on supporting student learning in the classroom.

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