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Statement Regarding Recent Shooting Tragedies

Statement Regarding Recent Shooting Tragedies

As many of us begin our end-of-year plans with celebrations and achievements, other families are now struggling with the shooting deaths of their loved ones. First the racist attack against Black people in a New York grocery store, and yesterday, a horrific school shooting against children in a Texas elementary school that killed at least 19 students and two adults. Sadness, outrage and dismay are just some of the feelings to describe these situations that seem to repeat with uncomfortable regularity. 

When these tragedies occur, we can’t help but think of our own students, staff and families. How would we come together as a community? How would we react? How would we recover? I am not certain that there is recovery after a school shooting. What is important today, and every day is that we all understand our role in making sure that our schools are secure and our children feel safe. 

We know that students may have questions today about what they’re seeing in the news. As the adults in their lives, it is important to reassure students that school is a safe place to be. In addition, our schools practice safety drills annually, have secure entryways and all exterior doors are locked during the school day. If you believe your child is experiencing a particularly difficult time, for any reason, please notify your school’s counselor or social worker.

Schools are safe places to be and we strive to do everything it takes to make sure it stays that way. You can review several frequently asked questions about safety in SoWashCo Schools. Though we have safety protocols in place, we also need your help. Report any threats or safety concerns to your local police department or school. Remind your child that it is important for them to report any issues they have to a trusted adult. And we always want to remind families to check their child’s backpack daily to make sure dangerous items, toys and non-educational items are left at home. 

If your child is asking questions about these recent tragedies, I have included some resources below to help you guide these tough conversations.

We will continue to ask for your support as we work to make South Washington County Schools a district where all feel welcomed, supported and safe. Thank you.



Julie Nielsen Signature

Julie Nielsen



Resources for Families:

The Minnesota Department of Education has provided some resources to help talk with children who share concerns with what they’re seeing in the news.