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Message from Supt. Brooks on Sandy Hook Tragedy

December 17, 2012

This week before winter break is unlike any other we've experienced with the Sandy Hook tragedy still heavy in our hearts. We want you to know we are very much aware of your concerns and are doing everything we can to address and alleviate the understandably high levels of anxiety we face in our community today.

The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. APS will be reviewing all safety protocols with our schools in the days ahead. This is something we do on a regular basis throughout the school year. Please understand that it's not in the best interest of our students and staff to publicly discuss details of our site safety plans.

Don't be alarmed if you notice an increased police presence on school campuses. The measure is intended to ease the fears some may have about returning to schools.

Our district school police department has been in contact with law enforcement agencies across the city, county and state. We are all committed to working together to do everything we can to keep our schools safe.

We've reached out to teachers to offer any support they may need. Teachers are on the front lines and may have one of the toughest jobs out there this week – keeping students focused, maintaining as much normalcy as possible in the classroom and being sensitive to the needs of shaken students.

School guidance counselors are ready to offer any assistance necessary for staff or students. Even though this traumatic event happened in Connecticut, it can still affect us through media. Every person is impacted differently, and some children may not understand the event.

Some students may view media coverage of the shootings and then worry the same could happen to them. It is important to help students understand what happened in terms they can understand. Spend time talking with your child about his/her thoughts about media coverage, what their friends are saying, and how they feel about it all. Place limits on how much media coverage your child sees and then try to explain the coverage and put it into context.

Please give some thought to what is developmentally appropriate for children to watch, read or listen to about this tragedy.

Keep in mind that some children may be less affected than others, and that's OK. Encourage your child to talk with a trusted adult at school if he or she feels anxious or scared during the school day.

Remind your child of the good things going on at school and at home. Talk about all the different people who are there to help them at school, at home and in the community. The most important thing you can do is talk with your child. Even if you don't know what to say, talking, listening and reassuring him/her is the best way to help.

Finally, please remind your child to tell an adult if he or she ever becomes aware of information that could lead to a student safety issue. The courageous efforts of students and adults in the past have helped police prevent what could have been more senseless violence. We can't forget the power of information and our responsibility to share what we know when we can.

For more tips on how to talk with students about the Connecticut tragedy, visit this link on the APS website.

We will get through this, though it will take time. We will never forget and we ask that you continue to keep the innocent Sandy Hook victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers.


Winston Brooks, Superintendent

Albuquerque Public Schools

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