Letter to Pieter B. families, talking about tragedy with children

February 28, 2018

Dear Pieter B. Parents and Families,

The recent tragedy that occurred in Florida has saddened all of us as parents, teachers and communities.  We are all still trying to come to grips with how this could happen at a school.  Our thoughts are with the community of Parkland.

Since the tragedy some parents may have chosen to discuss the event with their children, their children may have overheard conversation or even seen it on the news.  All children and families are different and react in different ways to events such as this.   As a result our crisis response team met recently to review our safety procedures and allow for adults to be available to talk to students individually if needed.  Our school psychologist, counselor and social worker (Darci Kurzynski, Christa LaFranier, and Hannah Barry, respectively) will be available for any children who want someone to talk to.

Here are some things to discuss with your child at home:

  • If you 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 Pieter B. 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 student felt during that time.  Ask, “What do you think would happen in a real situation?  Validate your child’s feelings and calm concerns.

Our goal is to make sure children feel comfortable and safe at school.  Our teachers will not be having classroom discussions about the events in Florida.  If a student brings up the event the teacher will quietly redirect the student and assure everyone our priority at Pieter B. is safety above all else.  As a reminder, our building doors are locked between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:30 pm Monday- Thursday, 9:00 am and 3:00 pm on Friday.  The only entrance is through the main office and all visitors must sign in, this includes dropping students off during arrival and dismissal.

Compassion and kindness are seen throughout our school day often and taught by our teachers and staff daily.  Together we will continue to ensure that Pieter B. Coeymans is a place to learn and grow.  If you have any questions are concerns, I would be happy to talk to you.  Thank you for your ongoing support in keeping all of our students safe.

Sincerely,

Hakim Jones