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A Message for Parents Regarding the Tragic Events in Florida

Dear Longwood School Community,

We are saddened and shocked to hear of the tragic events that transpired at a Florida High School on Wednesday afternoon. Our thoughts are with all those affected, and we are truly grateful for the bravery of staff, parents, and the first responders who reacted immediately to protect the students.

We recognize the impact that these tragedies have on us, on our children, families, and friends. 

Below are some tips to help you support your children and family:

  • Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate:
  • Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.
  • Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.|

  • Middle, junior and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.
  • If your child is not focused on the tragedy, do not dwell on it. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability. Young children may not be able to express themselves verbally. Pay attention to changes in their behavior or social interactions.

  • Limit exposure to media coverage. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming, especially if watched repetitively. Young children in particular may not be able to distinguish between images and sounds on television and their personal reality. Older children may choose to watch the news—be available to discuss what they see and to help put it into perspective.

  • Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children feel more secure.

As always, the professional mental health team at Longwood stands ready to support our students and families.  If you are concerned about your child and would like to speak with a member of our mental health team, please contact your building principal or assistant principal.  

  • Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
  • Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
  • Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
  • Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
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