Educators throughout the Sacramento region are sending out messages of condolence and comfort in response to the shooting deaths of 27 people - including 18 small children - at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. this morning.
"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community," said Debra La Voi, superintendent of Woodland Joint Unified School District in a letter to faculty and families. "This is a time we will all need to stay strong and stay connected so our children feel support and safety."
LaVoi said counselors would be available for students "on Monday, Dec. 17, and beyond if necessary." She directed parents to sign onto their School Loop account or to visit the
District website - www.wjusd.org - and to look under Parent Resources to find tips to help them to speak to their children about the tragedy.
Elk Grove Unified also issued a letter that reassures its families that safety measures are in place to guard against any similar incidents at local schools. "Our hearts go out to the families, staff and community members impacted by this horrific loss," stated the letter, signed by each school's principal.
California schools chief Tom Torlakson also issued a statement: "This morning's shooting in Connecticut is a terrible, senseless tragedy. Our grief is made all the deeper when we think of the innocence of the lives lost and the valiant efforts of teachers and school leaders to protect them. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the entire school community."
The National PTA also is offering its resources to help students, families, schools and PTAs cope with school violence, according to a press release sent by the organization this afternoon. The information is downloadable at www.PTA.org/SchoolViolence.