April 29th, 2019
Over the weekend, the world experienced yet another act of violence. On Saturday, April 27, one person was killed and at least three others were wounded as a result of a terrorist attack at a Synagogue near San Diego, California. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the victims, their families, and their loved ones, as well as the entire community. We hope for the swift recovery of those who were injured.
This tragic event is a reminder of the importance of creating a safe, caring, and inclusive community. The Waterloo Region District School Board is committed to providing education that is supportive of all our students, families, staff, and community members. Every day, we work to ensure everyone in our schools feels a deep sense of belonging, acceptance, and knows that they are valued.
We would also like to offer our utmost support to the Jewish community. Flags at all WRDSB sites will be lowered to half-mast until end of day on Friday, May 3. It is important in times like these, that we make an extra effort to connect with one another, offer our support, and share our feelings of vulnerability. It is also important that we all work together to maintain our safe and caring school communities.
We would like to remind our schools that supports are available for anyone who is struggling. Please reach out by talking to a friend, a parent, a teacher or a colleague and connecting with the appropriate resources. We are fortunate to live in a supportive community where we can lean on one another in times like this.
Director of Education
SUPPORT & GUIDANCE
It can be difficult to know how to respond to these kinds of events. To help students, parents and staff, we are providing some simple guidelines that you can use to inform your conversations over the coming days.
Guidance for students
- You belong here and we care about you – each and every one.
- You are part of a strong school community that comes together when any among us feels afraid or vulnerable.
- If you need to talk, reach out to a trusted adult at school, home, or in your community.
- If someone reaches out to you, listen.
- Pay special attention to how you treat others this week, especially those who may be questioning how they belong.
- Be kind, be welcoming, and include everyone.
Guidance for elementary student parents/guardians
- People are talking about these events, so recognize that children may become concerned that something bad will happen to them, their family or friends. Explain that safety measures are in place and reassure them that you and other adults will take care of them.
- If your child is not focused on the events, do not dwell on them. Try to avoid having detailed adult conversations regarding the tragedy in front of children. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability. Young children may not be able to express themselves verbally. Pay attention to changes in their behaviour or social interactions.
- Limit exposure to media coverage. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming, especially if watched repetitively. Young children, in particular, may not be able to distinguish between images on television and their personal reality. Older children may choose to watch the news; be available to discuss what they see and to help put it into perspective.
- Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children feel more secure.
- Be aware of your own needs. Don’t ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talking to friends, family members, faith leaders and mental health counsellors can help. Let your children know you are sad. You will be better able to support them if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner.
Guidance for secondary student parents/guardians
- Bring up the topic at a time and place where a discussion can occur. If there are distractions, a shortage of time or if either you or your teen is too tired or busy, it is likely the conversation will not be completed. If your teen is not focused on the tragedy, do not dwell on it. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability.
- It is normal for people to try to make sense of things when a serious loss occurs. Allow your teen to share his or her ideas and speculations. Help them to separate what they know from what they are guessing about.
- Limit exposure to media coverage. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming, especially if watched repetitively. Teenagers may choose to watch the news—be available to discuss what they see and to help put it into perspective.
- Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children and teens feel more secure.
- Be aware of your own needs. Don’t ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talking to friends, family members, faith leaders and mental health counsellors can help. Let your teen know you are sad. You will be better able to support them if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner.