Last week was a profoundly sad time for our country and for the families of slain students and teachers in Parkland, Florida. Since we often feel helpless at times like these, at our Morning Meetings on Thursday and Friday staff and students talked a little about what we can do as a school and as individuals to respond to the tragedy in ways that are productive and empowering. 

Safety at school is on the minds of our students – especially those new to our school — so we described in detail our emergency plans and answered their questions. Our goal is for all students to feel confident that they know exactly what they should do in the event of a threat. I have included these procedures in this email for you to review. 

We also emphasized our responsibility to be alert to signs that an individual may intend to harm others and to share these concerns with an adult who is in a position to help. Sometimes teen-agers believe they can handle problems themselves, or that peers can change the behaviors of others, but in a situation that can result in harm it is far wiser for them to place trust in parents or teachers who can connect with the proper law enforcement or health care professionals. I am grateful that our students have shown time and again that they have trust in our ability to help by coming to staff members with information that troubles them. Our school also participates in OK2SAY, which allows anyone to confidentially report potential harm directed at students, school employees, or schools in Michigan. Learn more at: http://www.michigan.gov/ok2say.

Large numbers of young people are joining the national conversation about violence in our schools with a passion and energy that cannot help but inspire us all.  New School High students, who have consistently demonstrated a commitment to human welfare and social justice, will want to be a part of these discussions and we will support their efforts.

Our thoughts will remain with those who lost loved ones in yet another act of violence that has left our nation searching for answers. 

-Cynthia