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SVSD Superintendent: Reassure Kids in Wake of School Shooting

The following letter was written and shared by Saucon Valley School District superintendent Dr. Sandra Fellin in response to the Newtown, Conn. school shooting.

Dear Saucon Valley School District and Community,

I would like to ask you all to keep the victims, their families, loved ones, and their community in your thoughts and prayers as we all struggle with the unthinkable events in Connecticut yesterday. An act such as this defies explanation and reason.

The Saucon Valley School District takes the safety and security of your children, the faculty, staff, and visitors seriously and keeps prevention as a priority. The district has measures in place to safeguard those in our care during the school day but regardless of what measures are in place some actions cannot be prevented as evidenced by today’s events.

It is important to reassure children that the adults in their lives are doing everything they can to make their school, home, and neighborhood safe. The National Mental Health Association has a number of suggestions for how to talk to children about something so tragic and horrific:

  • Validate the child’s feelings. Do not minimize a child’s concerns. Let him/her know that serious school violence is not common, which is why these incidents attract so much media attention.
  • Stress that schools are safe places. In fact, recent studies have shown that schools are more secure and safer now than ever before.
  • Encourage your child to report specific incidents (such as bullying, threats or talk of suicide) and that they can talk to you or another adult at any time to help them feel safe.
  • Help your child to self-advocate and to develop problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Encourage children to actively participate in prevention and to not be bystanders.
  • Discuss the safety procedures that are in place at school. Explain why visitors sign in at the office and why doors remain locked during the school day.
  • Help your child understand that such precautions are in place to ensure his or her safety and stress the importance of adhering to school rules and policies.
  • Create safety plans with your child. Help identify which adults (a friendly secretary, trusted teacher or approachable administrator) your child can talk to if they feel threatened at school.
  • Make sure that your child knows how to reach you (or another family member or friend) in case of crisis during the school day.

Everyone will react differently to this horrific situation. Recognize behavior that may indicate your child is concerned about returning to school. Younger children may react to school violence by not wanting to attend school or participate in school-based activities. Teens and adolescents may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn, or allow their school performance to decline. Seek help when necessary.

Counselors will be on hand in our schools next week and we encourage any students, staff or parents who would like to talk to someone to please reach out to our schools for help.

Sincerely,

Dr. Sandra Fellin
Superintendent

Vita December 16, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I think it's excellent that counselors will be here to help kids deal with this.
christina csillag December 16, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Thank you for being there for our children!
Deb December 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Thank you Dr. Fellin for always doing your best to protect our children.
Paula December 16, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Yes, Sandra . Thank you for ALWAYS putting the safety of ALL children above everything else..................
Sarah Connor April 04, 2013 at 03:39 PM
You think so...i am still waitng for her to call me back about the SAFETY MEASURES the SVSD has in place. Given we live in GUN COUNTRY. Perhaps she is too busy not being in all the time!
Paula April 04, 2013 at 03:58 PM
My comment was that of a sarcastic nature.....Our experience with Fellin has been completely unprofessional. We need new leadership within the district.
Sarah Connor April 04, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Go Paula!...finally someone who gets it and doesn't fall for all the nicey nice act! They need to clean house there starting with her , and then the new principal Cindy Basila who needs to go back to school to learn how to speak to people ! I will continue to voice until something gets done....we live in gun country and she has not plan for the safety of our children! GET HER OUT!
Paula April 04, 2013 at 05:04 PM
I had a different experience with Ms. Basila. Ms.Basila was kind and eager to fix a situation concerning one of my children in a posotive manner. The problem lies with Fellin and this pitiful excuse we call a schoolboard. They have absolutely no concern for the safety of children. We do deserve an explanation of what the district is going to do to protect our children to the best of their ability. Soverein immunity law protects them . Call Gunther @ WAEB, 10 NBC, anyone you need to to make people hear you.
Sarah Connor April 04, 2013 at 05:19 PM
no she doesn't she does her best to protect herself and her cushy job!
Paula April 04, 2013 at 05:30 PM
(cont) @ Sarah, You seem very angry and certainly with good reason. I am still wondering what justifies Fellins selfish decision to place our childrens bus stop near convicted sex offenders . Safety first with SV.'s Fellin....not a chance. NEW LEADERSHIP!
Deb April 04, 2013 at 05:43 PM
It's to bad so many people have a problem with Dr. Fellin. I have had some dealings with her and she has always been very professional, returned my e-mails with solutions to problems. I am all for the safety of our children but I also know that to come up with a good plan that works takes time.
Paula April 04, 2013 at 05:55 PM
It's rude, ignorant and unprofessional for her not to return phone calls to a taxpayer who has questions. I see her in the building talking to everyone about her new dog not about how to protect anyone's children.
Deb April 06, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Paula maybe you should call and make an appointment with Dr. Fellin then you would be assured to see her and talk to her about your concerns.
Paula April 06, 2013 at 01:28 AM
I have & it has been a horrific experience. Thank you.

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