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Deer Creek principal addresses safety at elementary school

Response is due to Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut


Tiffany Wiencken, principal of Deer Creek Elementary in King City, has issued a statement about how the school is dealing with the Dec. 14 horrific shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

And she emailed the staff the following message: "The events of Friday were very traumatic and remind us how important it is to support each other in this important work. You are not alone in your efforts to reassure students and families, and I know that you will let us know if there is anything we can do to support you or your students."

To all the families, Wiencken wrote:

"We are extremely saddened by the horrific events occurring in Newtown, Conn., on Friday. Please know that we take the safety of your children very seriously. Please be assured that we have safety protocols that we practice regularly and follow vigilantly. As a school, we conduct regular drills, our staff are well-trained in lockdown procedures, and we diligently reinforce these procedures.

"As a result of the terrible events of last week, our school safety committee is meeting to review these procedures and will make any necessary adjustments - your children's safety is our absolute priority!

"As always, please make sure that you check in the front office every time you enter the building. You must always be wearing your volunteer or visitor badge, as well.

"I understand that many adults (parents/teachers) are facing the difficulty of trying to navigate the developmentally appropriate way to talk to their children.

“We respect that many families are choosing not to tell their children about the Connecticut shootings.

"We will do our best to honor that decision but cannot promise that other children will not bring this up. It's our intention to provide a 'business as usual' atmosphere at Deer Creek."

Wiencken provided the following link as a resource for those who decide to talk with their children about the incident: www.ttsdschools.org/pages/ttsd/News/TTSD_response_to_Connecticut_e

In short:

-- If a child is under 10 years of age, wait until the child comes to you to talk about what they heard, or you hear them talking about the tragedy.

There is a possibility that younger children may not hear anything about this if they are shielded from the news.

-- Ask probing questions before sharing information if a child does bring up what happened. Phrases like... "Tell me what you heard" or "What did your hear about that?" will give you insight into what they are understanding.

-- Always reassure your child that adults are doing everything they can to keep them safe.

-- If a child doesn't want to talk about their feelings, honor that. Let them know that you are always available to listen if they change their mind.

"We send our deepest sympathies to the students, teachers and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School," Wiencken added.