Dear 4J community,
Our hearts are with the community of Parkland, Florida. Students and staff deserve to feel safe and be safe at school, and that safety was shattered in Parkland on Wednesday with a terrible act of violence.
Our thoughts also are with our own students and families. We know that at a time like this, many parents want to know both about how they can support their children, and about how schools work to keep students safe and secure.
In Eugene School District 4J, safety is a top priority. We believe in the importance of preparation and continuous improvement. We have safety procedures in place, hold training sessions with staff, and practice safety drills with students. Schools will notify students and parents in advance of any emergency drills in the coming weeks. We have made school facilities more secure through a number of bond-funded construction projects, thanks to the support of our community, and seek to do more in the future. We are fortunate to have Eugene Police school resource officers on our team, providing a highly trained, caring and visible presence in each of our four school regions.
As much as we proactively prepare for emergencies, tragic events like the one in Florida are shocking and hard to comprehend. Children look to adults for guidance on how to react. As parents you are the experts about what is best for your own children at home, but it can be challenging to know how to speak about the unspeakable. Psychologists have provided resources that may help.
In times like these, parents and staff can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security, talking with them openly about their fears, and reassuring them that schools are very safe places and dangerous events are very rare. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) also recommends the following strategies, detailed in the resource “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers”:
• Reassure children that they are safe and their schools is safe.
• Make time to talk.
• Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
• Review safety procedures.
• Observe children’s emotional state.
• Limit exposure to television and other media about these events.
• Maintain a normal routine.
If your child is having a hard time, please talk to your child’s teacher, school counselor or principal. And please take the opportunity to talk with your children about the importance of speaking up right away if they ever become aware of a possible danger. We take every concern very seriously. Telling a trusted adult—a parent or a school employee—could save lives.
Eugene School District 4J will always work to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all of our students. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our students safe.
Eugene School District 4J