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Bedford Schools To Help Kids Deal With Newtown Tragedy

Bedford Central School District Superintendent Jere Hochman sent an email to parents Sunday on how the schools planned to deal Monday with the Newtown tragedy.
Bedford Central School District Superintendent Jere Hochman sent an email to parents Sunday on how the schools planned to deal Monday with the Newtown tragedy. Photo Credit: The Daily Voice

BEDFORD. N.Y. ? Bedford schools had a plan in place for Monday morning to help students deal emotionally with the Newtown shootings , a Sunday email to parents said.

Superintendent Jere Hochman's email addressed how the Bedford Central School District planned to handle the challenges schools face after the killing of 20 pupils and 6 adults Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

School officials wanted to make sure both parents and students know their schools are safe.

An email sent Friday contained resources for parents on how to listen to and talk with children about the shootings, while the latest letter lays out what was to  happen when students returned to school Monday.

Over the weekend, according to Hochman, every principal in the district make plans and communicated with faculty so they can help students cope with the tragedy.

"Most will start with a moment of silence and approach the day as 'age appropriately' as possible with discussion where and when appropriate," Hochman said Sunday.

Hochman said that teachers will make sure to tune into individual student needs as they focus on helping their students resume school routines.

The following letter was sent to parents via email on Sunday:

Dear Bedford Central Parents and Guardians:

This has been a trying and emotional weekend. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the children and families at Sandy Hook Elementary School and to those in our own towns who have family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues in Newtown, Connecticut.

We will greet your children in the morning, be there for and with them, and begin routines of school so important at this time for children.

Depending on the age of your child(ren), I imagine the weekend has ranged from protecting them from the media and any facts to listening to them express their thoughts and feelings. Some children may know nothing. Some may know people are sad because some children were hurt but the adults are taking care of everyone. Others will know details or too many details. We will work to monitor conversations and keep everything age appropriate. Regardless, we know what children (and adults) need to hear is that “You are safe here, everyone here will take care of all children, and everyone will continue to take care of each other.”

All of your school’s principals have spent the weekend communicating with staff in preparation for Monday morning. Schools will recognize the events in Connecticut as age appropriately as possible and also work to keep school routines and lessons in place for normalcy. We want students to feel safe, secure, and confident in school, and getting into classwork will be as important as listening when they express questions and feelings. You will receive information from your principal some time by the end of the day Monday about our efforts for the week and please be assured: plans are in place.

I am holding a parent and community meeting on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 9:30 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. to discuss school safety and to listen to and answer questions. I expect these to last about an hour. I will send more information about the location in another School Messenger message this week. Some schools will hold meetings as well or earmark time at their next PTO meetings to hear your questions and thoughts.

Monday ? and this week ? will be challenging for your child(ren) and you. I am quite confident in our teachers, administrators and staff to listen, care for and attend to children. Our teachers are as caring and sensitive as can be. Many have experienced difficult situations like this with children and all have been trained in our safety procedures. Our staff working in the buildings, in facilities across the district and behind the scenes are as prepared and as focused on safety. Principals have prepared all weekend and shared information with teachers and staff. They will do so again in the morning and through the week.

As always, we will keep communications flowing to you in a variety of ways including principal newsletters, our eNews, on the websites , on Facebook BCSDNY and on Twitter @bcsdnotes .

Sincerely,

Jere Hochman

Superintendent

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