I got word of the shooting in Newtown, CT in the midst of a very busy Friday... My principal turned 40 this weekend, so we had a few secret surprised planned for the day in addition to our annual Christmas cookie sale and our Christmas parties. Other than about an hour of math and an hour of reading, Friday was pretty much just a day of celebration for us. When I finally had a few minutes to begin reading the headlines on my laptop my students were sitting in the classroom watching "The Muppet Christmas Carol" (possibly in a sugar coma from all of the treats and pizza they had consumed). They had no idea what had happened that morning at an elementary school that was so similar to their own. They'd been enjoying a carefree day of treats, movies, and crafts and were sitting there safe and sound awaiting the last weekend before Christmas break.
I have a feeling that this news is going to come up at some point in our school day today. With a weekend behind us, I'm almost positive that the majority of my students will have been exposed to news reports and headlines about this tragedy. I think what hits home the most with this incident is that it happened in an elementary school very similar to my own. I teach in a school of about 400 students in a fairly small suburban community and one of the teachers who died, Victoria Soto, was the same age as me.
I wanted to share a great resource I found reposted a few places.
It's an article from The Fred Rogers Company and is an article / excerpt from a book by Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers). I believe this was written shortly after 9-11 and it is wonderful advice for helping children cope with any sort of tragedy.
I hope that this helps you, whether teacher or parent, if you have to talk to children about this shooting. I pray that as teachers the Lord will give us the compassion, wisdom, and words to provide our own students with an understanding that we will do everything in our power to keep them safe and protected in school.
Tragic Events in the News: