CCPS Safety Update
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Collier Sheriff, Superintendent Announce Enhanced Safety Plan
February 15, 2018
We were deeply saddened to hear the news of the school shooting today at a Broward County school and our thoughts are with the entire community. The safety of our students is always a high priority in our District. We take seriously our responsibility to ensure the safety of your child every day.
In partnership with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, there will be an increased level of law enforcement visibility in addition to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office safety plan that is in place throughout the school year. Deputies continually train and are prepared to respond to any situation they may encounter.
As we learn more details about this tragic incident in the hours and days ahead, we would like to provide some resources that may be of help in talking with your children and helping them cope with this news. For your reference is a list of tips from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) about what parents can do in times like this:
1. Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings.Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help putthem into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
2. Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient.Children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily.
3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
- Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.
- Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.
- Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.
4. Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.
5. Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.
6. Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.
7. Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health.Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.
If you think your child needs counseling support in dealing with this tragedy or if you have further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school counselor or school principal.
Sheriff Rambosk and I feel the public can help keep schools safe by reporting any suspicious or unusual activity to law enforcement. Anyone with information should call 239-252-9300 or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8477.
Kamela Patton, Ph.D.
Collier County Public Schools