Schools support students after Texas shooting
Last updated 5/31/2022 at Noon
Sisters schools responded to support students the day following the school massacre in Texas last week.
Staff met at Sisters Middle School and Sisters High School prior to the arrival of students, to check in with one another and to form an action plan for the day.
“No teachers are unaffected by news of school shootings,” said Tim Roth. “We needed to support one another and then take care of the kids during the day.”
As the day began, teachers spoke to their first period classes about the incident in three ways, according to Roth.
“We stated the facts, gave students the time to ask some questions, and explained the supports available for students by our counselors and other personnel. Our counselor set up a safe room for students and for staff to use to process the event and grieve,” said Roth.
Steve Stancliff, Sisters High School principal, explained that he and his staff followed a similar protocol.
He said, “We took a bit of time to acknowledge that many people within our school community, both students and staff, are in the midst of trying to come to terms with the tragedy that unfolded in Texas.”
He added, “We also reminded students to be sensitive to one another and staff and to be open to the possibility that people have different experiences and different ways of processing news like this. And, of course, we let students know that if they needed to take a break at any time in the coming days that they are welcome to come to a safe place in the counseling center.”
The situation was handled differently at the elementary school, due to age and developmental differences, according to Principal Joan Warburg.
“Our students have a different level of awareness in comparison to older students,” she said. “It is our goal to support our students in a way that affirms the parents’ choices in exposing children to events of this magnitude.
“We invited staff to a safe place before school to process as needed, and then staff responded to individual students if/when they had concerns or questions throughout the day,” she added. “We encouraged staff to connect students and families who needed more support or help to Kate Kuitert, our counselor.”
Additionally, Sisters Schools Superintendent Curt Scholl sent out a letter to all families acknowledging the tragedy, giving assurance of the district’s diligence about safety, and addressing parents and families about how they can play a key role in making the community safer by doing the following:
•?Talk with your student about reporting concerns to school district staff or law enforcement.
•?Be aware of all surroundings. If something does not seem right, report it.
•?If you have firearms or weapons in your home, please secure them.
•?Listen to your student(s) and help them process any concerns they may have.
•?Model appropriate behaviors. Demonstrate healthy ways to express anger and relieve stress.
•?Take an active role in your student’s education. Visit and volunteer at school, monitor schoolwork, and get to know teachers.
•?Get to know your student’s friends and families. Establish a network to exchange information with other parents.
•?Monitor and supervise your student’s reading material, television, video games, and music for appropriate content.
•?Monitor and supervise your student’s use of the Internet.
•?If you see something, say something.