CHATHAM CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
February 16, 2018
Dear Chatham Central School District families,
On behalf of the Chatham Central School District community, I offer my deepest sympathies to those affected by the recent school shootings that have occurred across our nation – most recently, the tragedy that took place this week in Parkland, Florida.
Disturbing events such as these bring to the forefront the issue of school safety, so I wanted to take the time to assure you that Chatham Central School District has a detailed security plan in effect that we abide by every day. While, for added security, we do not publically share all our safety efforts, I can tell you that our schools are locked to the outside during the school day and only visitors with legitimate reasons to be in our buildings are allowed to enter by way of a locked and monitored entryway. To ensure our students and employees know what to do in the event of an emergency, our schools practice multiple lockdown drills and emergency evacuation drills throughout the year. We provide our staff with annual training for emergency situations, and we work closely with our School Resource Deputy and other local law enforcement agencies, as well as Questar III BOCES Health & Safety services, to regularly review and update our safety policies and procedures.
Here at Chatham, we have strived to provide our students with a sense of safety and normalcy during their school day. However, with the amount of media coverage these types of tragedies receive, your child may be aware of this disturbing news even if you as a parent choose to limit your child’s access to it.
It is important for parents to know that children of any age may be frightened or upset by these events. Your child may be experiencing significant feelings of fear, sadness, confusion, possibly even anger. You may want to give your children the opportunity to talk about these feelings. Here are some helpful tips:
- If you choose to talk with your child about these events, ask questions to get his or her understanding of what happened. Questions like “What did you hear? What do you think?” or “What are you afraid of?” will allow you to identify any concerns and correct any misconceptions your child may have.
- Make sure your child understands it did not happen here, and that it is safe for them to go to school.
- Let your child know that the feelings he or she is experiencing are okay and that he or she is not alone in feeling this way.
- Use it as a teaching moment. A discussion about troubling events can lead to a conversation about helping others, such as donating to a relief organization or charitable event. There is bad in the world, but we all have the power to make it a better place.
There is also a great amount of useful information available online that can assist you in talking with your children about difficult subjects.
As always, school counselors are available to assist any child who may have difficulty coping with this disturbing news.
In closing, I would like to remind you, and please remind your children of this as well, that if you “see something, say something.” Contact our school or police immediately if you become aware of threats or suspicious/unusual behaviors that could potentially pose a risk to our students or schools.
If you have specific concerns about this or any other school related issues, please do not hesitate to contact your school’s principal. Next week is our Winter Recess, so please enjoy this time with your family and we’ll see you again when classes resume February 26.
Dr. Sal DeAngelo, Superintendent
Chatham Central School District