GREATER NEW BEDFORD REGIONAL VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
1121 Ashley Boulevard • New Bedford, MA • 02745-2496
Tel. 508-998-3321 • Fax 508-995-7268 • www.gnbvt.edu
Preparation • Passion • Perseverance
Good afternoon, As we all struggle to understand the horrific school shooting in Texas earlier this week, our students – your children – may struggle more than anyone. They may be questioning whether school or other public places are safe. Indeed, it is a lot for adults to process.
The National Association of School Psychologists offers the following suggestions for both parents and educators looking for ways to have conversations about traumatic incidents like this one.
- 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 put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
- 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. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.
- Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
- 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 (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.
- 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.
- Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also 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 a mental health professional if you are at all concerned.
- 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.
- 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.
Further information can be found online by clicking here.
At Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech, security remains our top priority. Long before the horrific events of this week, renovation and the construction of a new security center has been underway at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech. By the time school starts in the Fall, visitors to GNBVT will be admitted to our school building through a new security center that will require everyone to pass through a series of locked doors before accessing the building. Please know that creating a safe, learning environment is the highest of priorities at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech – and we remain, as always, committed to taking the actions necessary to ensure your children and our faculty can feel safe when they are in school.
Michael P. Watson,
Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School is committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all students. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, homelessness, immigration status or veteran status in its education programs and activities, including admission to or employment in such programs or activities.
Michael P. Watson, Superintendent-Director
Warley Williams, Principal
Proudly Serving the Towns of Dartmouth and Fairhaven and the City of New Bedford
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