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A Message from the Superintendent Regarding Events at the U.S. Capitol

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff;

It is unfortunate my first communication to you in this new year follows the unexpected and unprecedented events that occurred yesterday at the U.S. Capitol. As a Superintendent, I am concerned how events such as these impact our children’s well-being.

With this concern in mind, we emailed our staff last night and provided resources to support conversations they may have today with students, recognizing that hearing about and seeing images of these types of violent events can cause stress and anxiety.

Here are the resources below:

When Bad Things Are Happening from Teaching Tolerance 

This article discusses four important steps:

  1. Listen - Let students express their feelings, share their experiences and vent. Consider letting them journal, draw or consider their reaction privately, as well. Give students time and space to react if they need it.
  2. Protect- No matter what's happened, there will likely be differing reports. Look for trustworthy sources and remain skeptical. Deal in facts and big ideas; avoid speculation. 
  3. Model - Help students translate feelings of hopelessness into opportunities to respond with productive action.
  4. Take Care of Yourself - Educators bear a heavy burden in trying to protect and support their students. Check in with your own feelings (and check in on colleagues). 

Here is a second great resource from the National Association of School Psychologists titled Talking to Children About Violence.

You may have already heard from your principals but we wanted to assure the community that our classrooms and hallways will remain thoughtful and peaceful. It is important we all model resilience and kindness in times when these behaviors are not being modeled by others.


John P. Phelan
Superintendent of Schools
Town of Belmont