Dear KSD Families,
I want to reach out to you and share some thoughts regarding the recent tragedy in Connecticut.
First, let me say that as a father, I was impacted profoundly by the senseless deaths of innocent children. I cannot imagine the sorrow being felt by the families in Newtown, but my sympathies rest with them and I pray their community and school leaders will provide the guidance and strength they now need. As the Superintendent of our district, much of my emotion had to be put on hold Friday as staff and I focused on helping our students, schools, and parents cope with this horrific tragedy. The nature of random incidents like these can make us all feel very vulnerable and it is natural to want to know that our own school and community are doing all it can to protect our children from harm. I want to personally reassure you that the safety and well-being of your child is of the utmost importance to us at KSD and that we have done and will continue to do all we can to insulate our students from danger.
Below you will find information about our safety and security procedures here in the Kent School District. In addition, included are some ideas about how you can help your child deal with this tragedy as well.
As a community and as a school district, we all share the responsibilities and concerns about keeping our children safe. I hope the information below reinforces the trust you have in our systems and in our schools. You will be hearing more about this in the days and months to come, but for now, please know that your child’s safety is, has been, and always will be our number one priority.
Dr. Edward Lee Vargas
KSD Safety Procedures
The Kent School District has extensive and thorough crisis response plans that address a full-range of emergency situations. Each individual school is prepared for these crisis situations. District and school plans have been developed in coordination with both King County and Kent Police emergency responders and the Washington State Emergency Management Division. Our preparedness should be a source of reassurance to our students and families.
The following precautionary measures are in place:
The most important safety and security assets are KSD staff. The Kent School District is made up of over 3,300 well trained and caring professionals who put student safety first and are vigilant in their efforts to identify, report, and respond appropriately to dangerous situations.
What Parents and Families Can Do to Help Their Child
Parents are our students’ first and most important teachers. A thoughtful parental approach to age-appropriate discussion is important for children to cope with the emotions that naturally follow tragic events. As hard as it is to talk among adults about such a tragedy, it can be even more difficult to talk with students and our own children. The link: Helping Youth and Children Recover from Traumatic Events contains some information that might be helpful.
These are some specific suggestions for things you can do at home:
School counselors, teachers, support staff, and principals are always available to help. If you have concerns about your child and would like the counselor to speak with him or her in private, please contact the district or your child’s school office