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Letter to A.W. Becker families, talking about tragedy with children

February 28, 2017

Dear A.W. Becker Families:
This has been an emotional couple of weeks for families and school districts across the country.  The recent tragedy in Florida has made us all reconsider how we best protect our children, our schools, and our way of life.  In the midst of our shared sorrow, there is a great deal of concern about what may be done to prevent and respond to such tragedies; therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some important information that will ideally address some of your concerns and answer some of your questions.

Some families have found this horrific tragedy to be an opportunity to talk and listen to their children. Children must be assured that adults in their lives, at home and at school, are doing everything possible to keep them safe. As a result, we are continually reviewing our safety procedures and plans in the following ways:

  • Crisis response team and crisis management plans are in place at each building.  We will be reviewing and
    practicing our lockdown drills in coming weeks and months.
  • All outside doors are locked during school hours with only the main entrance door enabled to receive visitors.
  • All classroom doors can be locked and teachers are trained to do so in the event of an emergency. There are additional classroom procedures in place for the safety of our students and staff.
  • Our school has a close relationship with the Bethlehem Police Department as reflected by regular visits, thus increasing visibility and presence.
  • There is close supervision of recess and transitions to and from the school, where the staff is always equipped with radios that communicate with the main office.
  • Our Guidance Counselor and Social Worker are trained individuals who provide students and families with assistance in social-emotional matters.

Our superintendent, Dr. Bailey, shared a letter with families earlier this week.  The letter is posted on the district website, along with some resources on how to talk with your child. Here are some additional items to discuss with your child:

  • If your child sees something that doesn’t “feel” right, they need to talk to a trusted adult right away. We encourage our students that if they “see something, say something.” This includes during the school day, on
    social media, during extracurricular activities, etc.
  • At A.W. Becker, there are many caring adults that surround our children to make them safe.
  • Take emergency drills seriously. If a drill occurs at school, discuss how your child felt during that time. Ask, “What do you think would happen in a real situation?” Validate your child’s feelings and calm concerns.

Dr. Bailey asked all of us to look ahead and consider how we continue to ensure the safety and emotional health of our children.  RCS and its district-wide safety teams have continuously tackled these issues.  Please take a moment to talk to your child in regards to school safety.

As is past practice, I will continue to notify you with each lockdown drill. Why so much practice for school safety?  We practice to make things perfect, or as perfect as they can be. We are practicing to save lives in the event of a real emergency.  Safety is our number one priority. If you or your children ever have a concern about a potential threat, no matter how small, please reach out to school leaders or to the police.  Thank you for your continued support.

Best regards,
Debra Neubart