Monday, December 17, 2012

A Message Regarding the Newtown, CT Tragedy

Dear Members of the Somerville Public School Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Newtown, Connecticut community.  No words can express the amount of suffering and grief that we feel, especially for those parents that lost children. 

In school, we are not drawing attention to this incident and are continuing to provide a sense of normalcy. This morning principals met with staff members in an effort to prepare to meet the emotional needs of our students.  You may have noticed that district administrators, including myself, and members of the Somerville Police Department assisted in providing an increased presence at each of the buildings.  School counselors and mental health professionals are available for our students and staff.  You can expect to see this support implemented for the remainder of the week.  Resources for talking to your child are posted on the district homepage. 

The district’s Emergency Management Plan is updated annually with assistance from local law enforcement and emergency management personnel.   Each month, our schools conduct drills for various types of safety and security procedures.  We continue to revisit and update the district’s Emergency Management Plan as the times around us change.  In the upcoming months, the district will investigate hiring new security personnel.  In order for all of us to ensure the safest environment for our children, we urge you to contact a school administrator if you see or hear something of concern.  Notifying us in a prompt and timely manner is of the utmost importance when handling potential incidents of this nature.  In addition, we recommend that you monitor your child’s social media accounts. 

This holiday season, I will hug my children a little tighter.  I hope you find some time to do the same.  I thank you again for your understanding and continued support.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact me through my blog, email, twitter or phone.

Warmest Regards,

Timothy Purnell, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools 
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