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Responding to Tragedy: Resources for Parents & Families

5-24-22

Dear Dedham Public Schools Community:

I know that all of us are heartbroken by today’s incomprehensible school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. I wanted to reach out to all members of the DPS community to share support and reassurance.  I spoke with Dedham Police Chief Mike D’Entremont tonight and his department will be providing increased police patrols near our schools tomorrow.  This is in addition to our dedicated school resource officers who are in our schools daily.  

These events in Texas come as we are still dealing with the aftermath of the racially-charged mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, and may trigger feelings of anxiety and fear. We want to reinforce that we have support services in place and available to those who may be struggling with today’s tragic event. 

In addition to offering mental health resources in each of our schools and the EAP benefits available to staff, we’ve also gathered some links to resources below that may be helpful during this time:

  • The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) tips for parents and educators to talk with children about violence suggests adults:
    • Reassure children they are safe and review safety procedures. 
    • Create a sense of safety by returning to normal, predictable routines as soon as possible.
    • Make time to listen to the concerns and feelings of children.
    • Limit media consumption of these events to lower stress and to maintain perspective.
    • Acknowledge that sleep difficulties are common and can lead to fatigue and less participation.
  • Common Sense Media offers How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings by taking an age-based approach to discussing news of school shootings with kids.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends honesty with children – acknowledging that bad things do happen, but reassuring them with the information that many people are working to keep them safe, including their parents, teachers, and law enforcement. 
  • Helping Children Cope With Terrorism from NASP offers tips for families and educators. Translations of this handout are available in Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. There is also a companion infographic
  • Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting, from the American Psychological Association

Please reach out to your school’s mental health professionals if you need additional guidance or support.  Our hearts go out to all those impacted by senseless violence during this time of unconscionable loss and suffering. 

All my best,

Mike Welch

Superintendent