Dear Rockland BOCES Families,
By now you have heard about the tragic school shooting that occurred yesterday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. No doubt there will be extensive media coverage of this horrifying incident and much discussion about it in the coming days.
I want to reassure you that the safety of our students is our top priority and that Rockland BOCES has a comprehensive threat assessment plan in place to help avoid tragedies such as this. The plan is reviewed and updated annually.
While there are no known threats against any of our schools or programs, the Clarkstown and Orangetown police departments and the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office will provide additional patrols to each of our buildings starting today.
I also want to share with you some tips from the National Association of School Psychologists for helping children cope with traumatizing events such as this:
1. Focus on your children over the week following the tragedy. Tell them you love them and everything will be okay. Try to help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.
2. Make time to talk with your children. Remember if you do not talk to your children about this incident someone else will. Take some time and determine what you wish to say.
3. Stay close to your children. Your physical presence will reassure them and give you the opportunity to monitor their reaction. Many children will want actual physical contact. Give plenty of hugs. Let them sit close to you, and make sure to take extra time at bedtime to cuddle and to reassure them that they are loved and safe.
4. Limit your child’s social media interactions and exposure to television coverage of this event. If they must watch, watch with them for a brief time; then turn the set off. Don’t sit mesmerized rewatching the same events over and over again.
5. Maintain a “normal” routine. To the extent possible stick to your family’s normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don’t be inflexible. Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.
6. Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children before bed. These activities are calming, foster a sense of closeness and security and reinforce a sense of normalcy. Spend more time tucking them in. Let them sleep with a light on if they ask for it.
7. Safeguard your children’s physical health. Stress can take a physical toll on children as well as adults. Make sure your children get appropriate sleep, exercise and nutrition.
When talking with your children, please emphasize that schools are safe places. School administrators and staff work with parents and public safety providers (police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep students and teachers safe.
Most importantly, we are attempting to promote a culture in which everyone has a responsibility to be vigilant and focused on safety. We ask that you talk with your children about the importance of sharing information that could be considered threatening to our community with a responsible adult.
In closing, we continue to make safety our top priority. We plan to review lessons learned from yesterday’s terrible tragedy so that we can continue to be proactive.
Please join me in positive thoughts to the entire community of Uvalde, Texas.
Sarah Chauncey, DPS-IM Amy Albers, Ed. D.
District Superintendent Chief Operating Officer
Rockland BOCES Rockland BOCES