Dear Quincy School District Staff,
In the aftermath of the most recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, I am still struggling to find words that describe my feelings about the tragedy. I have gone through a range of emotions from disbelief to sorrow, rage and quiet introspection. As someone who has spent his whole life in the service of helping students, I find myself in a state of disbelief that we are unable as a society to ensure that our youth are safe in public places such as movie theaters, malls and schools.
These are difficult times that challenge us to know how to support students and families when events like the Florida shooting happen. I have included two resources to help you talk to your students about Trauma. I attached a one-page document that provides guidance for you to have conversations about trauma. The second resource is a more elaborate resource for classroom teachers and counselors. Click Here for a resource from the NY Times for teachers and counselors to help plan conversations about the shooting in Florida.
Even though there is no way to guarantee that every student is 100% safe all the time, I can assure you that the Quincy School district continues to do everything possible to make school a safe and healthy place. The Quincy School District partners with the Quincy Police to staff a full-time armed school resource officer whose job is to be in schools every day. In addition, we are adding more security cameras and providing single point entrances in which guests have to be buzzed in. Our school and district administrators recently engaged in full day active shooter exercise that trained school leaders in how to help students and staff in the event of an active shooter situation. In August, a team of six Quincy School District leaders, along with our new police chief and assistant fire chief, will attend a national training to review and update our district’s safety plan. We will continue to engage in activities that help us respond to emergencies in the most effective and efficient ways.
The Quincy School District is also working to support students to be physically and emotionally healthy. As mental health issues increase in society, we are ramping up how we support our students and families. Every Quincy School has at least one certificated counselor to help our student’s manage socially and emotionally. Two years ago, we hired a social worker to help families who live in the most extreme circumstances connect with local resources to improve the lives of their kids. The Quincy School District is a Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) district. Not only does this behavior management philosophy encourage positive behavior, it also creates a culture of student support. Through our Whole Child (social-emotional) Initiative, we continue exploring innovative ways to collaborate with the community to support the well-being of our students.
I want to end with a quote from a Facebook post from Jon Lake, the gentleman who disarmed the Moses Lake School shooter in 1996.
“Be a friend to the homeless, the sick and the elderly. Reach out to young people who need mentors, teachers and the confidants helping to make the world a better place. Every day we need to make a difference. Thank a teacher, offer to help them, shake the hand of a first responder, and pray for our military , local and national leaders. School violence can happen anywhere. Love and caring about each other can happen everywhere. Don’t wait until it is too late. Make a difference every day with everyone you meet. We must replace evil with good.”
Thank you loving and caring for our students during this very difficult time!
John L. Boyd
Quincy School District #144