I am sure we would all agree that the last week has been a difficult one. I would imagine that every school in America is struggling with the loss in Connecticut and reviewing their own procedures. Coventry High is no exception. After hearing from some of my colleagues in neighboring high schools, several are dealing with rumors of violence and uneasiness of both students and adults.
For the past 24 hours, I have received several calls and emails from parents who wish to inform us of the potential for violence that has been shared by their child. Truthfully, I am glad that your children are having these conversations. They are truly important.
Today, at the opening of school I asked the student body to think carefully about the rumors that have been spread through CHS about the potential for violence. Most students and parents that I spoke with today expressed the concern about violence but could not provide any specific information about times, places, people, etc. In fact, only four students have been identified as having said or done something specific. Each of those students were interviewed along with their parents. Our school resource officer and our administrative team have learned that each of these individuals did not pose a risk to anyone here at school.
I write to you today to ask for your help. Continue to have open dialogue with your child about his or her feelings. I understand perfectly how students get nervous about violence in schools. My daughter spent her weekend worried about my personal safety and asked what my plan was if we experienced violence. This is not a burden a teenager should bear. If there is anything specific (person, place, time), please contact me or have your child contact me and we will investigate the lead.
Please know that we hold sacred, the health and welfare of each person (student and adult) who enters our building. There is nothing more precious than your child and I take that responsibility as my top priority. If your child talks about the rumors and cannot provide specifics, please reassure them that we are looking into every lead but try not to let the rumor consume them.
I believe children act the way in which adults around them react to situations. Please try to help us by working with facts, not fiction. For example, we did not have 7 police officers here today. We did have a medical situation in which a student was transported by ambulance, not as a result of violence. We did have a holiday concert (which was simply great!) and no one was injured. I can only imagine what other stories were told today when your child got home.
My other suggestions include a limited use of social media to spread the unfounded rumors. I have reports of adults even posting rumors on facebook and twitter to “alert” the public. Again, if you have specific information, please do not post it, call us, email us, come see us.
We have practiced drills in schools for years now. I believe students know exactly what to do in the event of any emergency. Ask your child to review this with you. As I tell my own two children, always have a plan; whether it is at school, the movies, a restaurant, the mall, etc. I hope that they will always remain practice drills.
If you have anything that you want to share, please do not reply to this email. It is a list serve and this will not come directly to me. Contact me directly at email@example.com. I hope the above information helps.