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Oak Forest Schools Ready for Students' Questions on Sandy Hook

Oak Forest schools in the Arbor Park and Forest Ride Elementary school districts are ready and have staff prepped to discuss the Newtown, Conn. shootings with students, staff, faculty and families.

Following the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., parents across the country wondered how and if they should talk about the events of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Oak Forest school administrators are doing the same and have staff poised to tackle any of the students' concerns, questions or fears. 

Forest Ridge School District 142 Superintendent Margaret Longo said the district always has counselors and psychiatrists present at district schools,  available for students to express what might be weighing on their minds. She added that the district schools have been in constant contact with families throughout the weekend.

“Our parents have done a tremendous job handling the situation,” Longo said. “We did send an email out to families over the weekend, addressing some tips on how to talk to their children about it."

In Arbor Park School District 145, Superintendent Allen Jebens said through a representative that counselors were available to students, staff, teachers and even parents.

Jebens also met with the principals of each school in the district Friday night and Monday morning to discuss how to handle the delicate situation.

Both superintendents said that the schools are trying to heighten the awareness and vigilance of staff, to be on the lookout for students who may need somebody to talk to.

Dave December 18, 2012 at 01:19 PM
This was a message sent within our campus mail where I work: " To help families, teachers, counselors, and others who are having conversations about death and grief in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT, Beacon Press is offering free copies of Talking About Death: A Dialogue between Parent and Child and Living When a Loved One Has Died. We hope these resources will help everyone affected begin to heal. Visit our website to submit your request, and please share this with others. --Beacon Press http://www.beacon.org/client/client_pages/griefresources.cfm "
Michael M. December 18, 2012 at 05:49 PM
The school is not responsible for discussing this with my kids. My wife and I are able to handle it.
Dave December 19, 2012 at 04:15 AM
I think (my opinion) of how I read the article that the school is ready for the questions. If the kids ask the questions at the school that is then their initiative to answer, but its better to be prepared than to be unprepared. The school I don't think is going to center its attention on this, unless it is a project such as a psychology project or something, but that would be a college level event, not a grade/high school thing. As a parent take the initiative to at least tell your children this, unless it's understood by them that they can talk to you about anything then you have it pretty well. Remember not every parent is like you Michael. If I had kids, I'd be willing to present the initiative and tell them they can ask the questions from me whenever they want, but if not and they want to talk to someone else that would be good with me, too. People cope with emotional trauma differently than others. I'm not a psych major, but to me I handle it differently than other friends and family. Michael, no slam intended. If you have that line of communication with your kids, that is excellent and I applaud you for being a very open parent. Some parents aren't though.
Michael M. December 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM
According to my daughters, the school did focus on this. Every teacher had a discussion in their classes except one. The worst part was that each teacher had their own idea of the safety procedures of the school. I do not want to list the procedures for safety reasons, but some teachers are 180 degrees apart on what they should do in a situation with a shooter. Then of course, they had to listen to the political viewpoints of each teacher, which is not why I send them to school. I discussed the issue with my daughters the day it happened, it is the responsibility of the parents, not the school to discuss the emotional and political fallout. The school may not agree with your values, so why leave it to them to discuss this with YOUR child.
Dave December 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Now I agree with you there Michael on this. Political viewpoints of instructors should NOT be what is discussed because I disagreed with over 3/4 of my teachers on politics. Things that should be discussed is on a as needed request, not as a mandated type of discussion. Mandated discussions should be safety procedures of what to do when, where, and how which should be objective and not subjective in material. How people feel should be not really the instructors but the counselors of the school. So the discussions could be either way for me, but it depends on what the discussions are about. So for me it would be the content. Knowing procedures all the students should know Discussing feelings are an on-demand type of thing and should be referred to by one of the counselors if none then the instructor but that is if the student doesn't feel like they can talk to anyone at home. This is a very grey-line subject matter.

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