May 25, 2022
Greetings Dearborn Public Schools Community,
Once again, (it hurts to even have to write those words), communities across the nation woke up this morning trying to process and grieve the senseless tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Our hearts are heavy as we send our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones during yesterday’s tragic event. We offer our most sincere support to the entire Uvalde, Texas community.
A school community becomes a family, and our thoughts are with our families, as you send your children to school, relying on us to keep them safe. Your student’s safety and well-being remain our number one priority, and we remain committed to working together as a community to create a safe school environment where all students can learn and thrive. There are several important points to keep in mind and helpful messages that will help us provide the very best learning environment for your children:
- Reassure children they are safe in our schools. Each school in our district, under the leadership of the principal and professionalism of our teachers, work each and every day to create a school environment that is safe, secure, and welcoming to all.
- The District has an outstanding partnership with the Dearborn Police, and our SRO’s do an incredible job to build relationships with our students and staff in order to prevent these types of tragedies. Police Chief Shahin contacted me this morning to say that officers would be spending more time around our schools this morning to provide that extra level of reassurance to the school community.
- All schools have an Emergency Management Plan and have for years practiced emergency drills as part of the regular routine. We have installed card readers at entrance doors making our entry points more secure.
- All school websites have an on-line safe box that allows students to share information about any potential issues or concerns they may have.
- The District is fortunate to have a skilled staff of social workers, psychologists, counselors, and other professionals trained to work with students and provide them the support they need before these types of tragedies occur. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our principals, counselors and/or social workers should you or your child need support.
- Limit exposure to the media – radio, television, online. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that may be misunderstood.
Parents often ask how they can support their children and young adults as they too process the news of this tragedy. The district has a Social Emotional webpage with several resources for parents including a document that provides help with talking to children about violence. – https://dearbornschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Talkin-to-Children-About-Violence-.pdf. In addition the American Psychological Association also provides some helpful information.
Some say the time for “thoughts and prayers” is done, that we need action and change. That may be true, but I offer the following. The phrase “thoughts and prayers” is not just idle words meant to fill space; it is a message of hope. When we put a person in our thoughts, when we offer a prayer, we are saying that we care, that there is hope. It is a reminder that we all have morals and values and it is those qualities that will help drive the conversation that can lead to the action and change that is needed.
Glenn Maleyko, Ph.D.