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Dry Creek Elementary School District Responds to Sandy Hook Shooting

Dry Creek Elementary School District Superintendent Mark Geyer explains district protocols in the event of an active school shooting.

In the wake of violence that has reportedly left 26 dead, 20 of whom were children between the ages of 6 and 7, at a Connecticut elementary school, Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District officials are taking a moment to share their perspective on the tragedy and are prepared to answer any questions concerned Roseville residents may have.

When asked about how prepared DCJESD is in the event of an active shooter situation, District Superintendent Mark Geyer explained there are certain precautions each school has taken to ensure the district is as prepared for something like this as possible.

In an e-mailed response, Geyer noted the protocols each school is prepared to take in the event of an active school shooting incident. Here is what he had to say:

Dear Dry Creek Families-

When a tragedy strikes, such as the school shooting in Connecticut on Friday, it has a direct impact on the students, staff and families in our school community. It prompts us to reflect, as questions and review the safety procedures in our own schools.

I can assure you that each of our schools has a Crisis Response Plan and safety procedures in place. As part of our plan, we conduct a variety of drills at the school site level. We also work closely with local police and fire agencies from which we receive excellent service. In light of the recent school tragedy, we will continue to implement our Crisis Response Plan with renewed diligence. Please be assured that we consider campus safety as our most important responsibility.

Tragic events can be incredibly difficult to process, let alone helping our children to make sense of the events. The following are some considerations when talking with your children about tragedy:

  1. Take care of yourself first. Be calm, centered and emotionally ready to have the discussion.
  2. Keep it age and developmentally appropriate—as an approximate guide, very young kids under 7 may not understand or need to know about the event. Wait for very young children to ask you questions first.
  3. Ask older kids to explain what they understand happened and then fact-checked. You may need to clarify their understanding of the event. Let your child's questions guide the discussion and don't assume they need more information or description/discussion. A good ending question is to say, "Is there anything else you want to ask me about?" Remind them they can talk to you anytime.
  4. Keep the description as simple and clear as possible and avoid euphemisms about death and violence. Do not make up reasons as to why the event occurred. It's okay to tell our children we don't know why this happened as long as we reassure them they are safe now.
  5. Ask them how they feel about it and accept all feeling responses. Don't assume we know how they are feeling. Some kids may be afraid, some may be curious. All repsonses are okay.
  6. Remind them this has not happened to them. Reassure them that we are here to keep them safe and that the adults in the school are prepared to help them stay safe.
  7. Limit over exposure via news media. Do this for yourself and your family.
  8. Some tragedies can be a teachable moment about compassion for others. Your child may want to process their feelings by sending condolences.
  9. School counselors and psychologists are available for students who may need additional support.

Pleas contact your school or the District Office if you have any questions or concerns.

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