May the day come when “never again” is the promise that our society upholds for our children, so that schools are places of safety, security, exploration, discovery, hope, and promise… so that our teachers are candles in the dark, lighting one flame and encouraging others to pass that glow forward to enlighten others… so that our students are simply children able to become their best selves and live every day to the fullest, not like it could be their last. “Never again” must be a promise upheld, not empty words, when the lives of children and educators are at stake.
On behalf of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, I offer my most profound and deepest condolences to the families of all the precious lives lost at Robb Elementary School, to the devastated school and Uvalde community, to the school leaders who will rise to an occasion that is beyond emotional and mental comprehension amidst their own grief, and to every person touched by the heartbreaking loss of so many young lives and the teachers who died protecting them. Although thousands of miles away, we are with them.
It is, of course, important that we learn from past incidents and be aware of key legal considerations related to school security. For that information, we encourage you to click here for this article from LEGAL ONE Director David Nash.
NJPSA and FEA – Here for You
Please reach out to us at NJPSA and FEA if we can assist in any other way or if you have additional resources that are meaningful to you that you feel would benefit your colleagues throughout the state. Note that FEA Professional Learning and LEGAL ONE offer numerous workshops, webinars throughout the year, as well as self-paced courses, that address various aspects of school safety, security and social and emotional well-being.
New Jersey’s schools and students are in excellent hands if they are your hands, and I, along with all of us at NJPSA, are here to remind you that you are strong, capable, loving, nurturing, and resilient. May “never again” no longer be an empty promise, and may you all find the resolve needed to lead your schools through this tragedy and the ongoing challenges that try to cross the thresholds into your schools.
Finally, we know that many of our own leaders, educators, and students in New Jersey are also struggling with this specific act of violence, collective acts of violence, or have had this tragedy open their own wounds, and we have provided an array of resources to help you support your own school community:
The New Jersey Department of Education has extensive resources available to assist school districts. Listed below is a memo that was sent out on May 25 in response to the shooting, as well as links to other relevant NJDOE resources:
- May 25, 2022 Memo from New Jersey Department of Education on Responding to Incident in Texas
- NJDOE Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning – Upon request, representative from this office will visit your district and provide feedback on your safety and security protocols
- NJDOE Keeping Our Children Safe, Healthy & In-School
- NJDOE Uniform Memorandum of Agreement between Education and Law Enforcement
- NJDOE Comprehensive Mental Health Guide
Article by NJPSA Legal Department and LEGAL ONE – Analysis of the November 30, 2021 Michigan School Shooting and Lessons to be Learned
Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care has developed a comprehensive network of traumatic loss coalitions for youth in every county in the State of New Jersey. The TLC’s are available to support districts in a variety of ways, including in responding to traumatic events and in proactively identifying ways to address the social and emotional needs of students, parents, staff, and the school community.
- Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed resources to help children, families, educators, and communities navigate what they are seeing and hearing, acknowledge their feelings, and find ways to cope together. These resources include:
- Talking to Children about the Shooting
- Helping Youth After a Community Trauma: Tips for Educators (En Español)
- Talking to Children: When Scary Things Happen (En Español)
- Talking to Teens about Violence (En Español)
- Tips for Talking to Students about Violence
- Coping After Mass Violence for Adults and Teens
- After a Crisis: Helping Young Children Heal
- Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
- American School Counselors Association: Helping Students After a School Shooting
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: Talking to Children About Violence
- Child Mind Institute: Anxiety Over School Shootings
- Common Sense Media: How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings
Thank you for your strength and for keeping hope alive every day in our schools and in the hearts and minds of our students and staff. May this be the last time we have to respond to a school shooting. Ever.