Dear Littleton Public Schools Families and Staff:
We are deeply saddened by the horrific event that took place at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida yesterday. Our hearts go out to the students, staff members, families and community members who have been greatly impacted. As one of the growing number of school districts nationwide that has had to face this type of heinous act head on, we deeply empathize with the anguish and heartbreak a community faces when tragedy occurs.
We believe that school is the best place for our students to be, and there is nothing more important to us than keeping our students and staff safe. Littleton Public Schools’ physical safety and security protocols serve as a model to others nationwide and we continue to look for ways to improve our practices and procedures. We recognize the important role schools play in addressing the mental health and wellness needs of our students and families. We are also aware that safety and mental health are community-wide issues that need continuous discussion, partnership and action on a broader scale. When we learn that a student is in crisis, we immediately engage the student and the family, and we do our very best to connect them with the community resources they need. Littleton Public Schools also has numerous programs, intervention protocols and highly trained mental health professionals in place in our schools to address the needs of our students and staff. Please contact one of our school mental health professionals if your child is struggling.
It is likely that today and in the days to come, students may be exposed to traumatizing media coverage that could trigger strong emotions and responses. Mental health experts recommend that parents limit their children’s exposure to television and social media coverage of events like this due to the traumatic nature of the video and images. We have many resources on the district’s website that you might find helpful when talking about sensitive issues with your children in age-appropriate ways. “Helping Your Child Understand a Traumatic Event” is an excellent resource and others can be accessed through this link.
I also invite you to revisit the information in the publication, “Safety, Mental Health and Wellness in Littleton Public Schools”, which outlines the numerous physical safety, social, emotional and behavioral services provided to LPS students, staff and families throughout our school district.
We all understand that the vigilance of our parents, students, staff and neighbors is the very best safety measure there is. Students can go to www.Safe2Tell.org or call 877-542-7233 to anonymously report anything that concerns or threatens them, their friends, family or school community. You can also contact the LPS security office at 303-347-3420, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All of us have a responsibility to tell school administrators if we have information that may affect the safety of our students or staff.
I am frequently reminded of the character and perseverance of the LPS family. LPS is a special place in which to learn, teach and grow because of this community’s strong partnership with its schools. Please reach out to the staff at your school if you need support and continue to remind your children of just how much you love them.
National Association of School Psychologists
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
US Department of Health and Human Services
Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events: A Guide for Parents and Educators
National School Crisis and Bereavement Center, USC School of Social Work
Talking to Children About Terrorist Attacks and School and Community Shootings in the News
American Academy of Pediatrics
Talking to Children About Tragedies & Other News Events