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Message From Jennifer Ford: April 21, 2013

April 21, 2013

Good Evening Parents and Caregivers of the Peabody and RAUC Communities:

I am writing to you this evening to apprise you of our plans for school tomorrow in dealing with the tragedies of the past week. Mr. Watson will be unavailable tomorrow due to extenuating family circumstances. Ms. Sanchez, as well as the rest of his Administrative Staff will be available to help you if you are a RAUC family and of course, you are always welcome to contact myself as well.

The events on Patriot’s Day at the Marathon as well as the evolving circumstances that followed were unprecedented. We, at Peabody and RAUC understand what an unusually difficult time this can be for all of us, especially our children.

Our first priority will be assuring that the children feel safe and understand that we are able to move forward as a school, a community, a city, a state and a nation.

We are especially sensitive to those families that may have been directly affected or are unable to find their way through this traumatic time as of yet. Please, contact me directly on my cell phone at: 617-201-7844, or by email at jford@cpsd.us if you would like to discuss personal circumstances about your child or your family. We are here to help. Tomorrow, our school counselors will be available to help your children with the processing of these horrific events. They are also available to you, if you’d like to come in and talk to them or call, feel free to.

Although I do not live in one of the towns that were ordered to shelter in place, I can only begin to imagine what the Citizens of Cambridge must have been feeling. Made all the more stressful by perhaps our younger Community members wondering why they must stay inside on a beautiful 70 degree day. I was on the edge of my seat all day – waiting breathlessly to hear that the perpetrator of these especially heinous crimes had been caught. I know I stand aside all of you in gratitude to our first responders, particularly our own Student Resource Officer J.J. Jones as well as Peabody and RAUC parent, Officer Michael “Whitey” Daniliuk.

Tomorrow morning, the entire staff of the Peabody and RAUC Schools will be gathering to discuss our plan of action. It is my intention that teachers will not have a broad discussion with the children. If a child has questions, I am asking the teachers to take the student aside, ask them about their concerns and when appropriate direct the student to my office or one of our counselor’s.

At 2:50PM, the entire State will be participating in a Minute of Silence. We will take that time to honor those whose lives were lost, injured and those who acted bravely in the face of such horror.

The past 12 years have been very difficult for the Citizens of our great Country. As adults we are building a resilience that we were unfortunately given no choice but to do so.

As we’ve been building this resilience, I believe we have also been brought together more deeply as a Country. These most recent tragedies, which were brought literally to our own back yards, with hope and time to heal, will bring our own Community even closer. I know I will be so grateful to see everyone safe and sound tomorrow morning.

Below are some resources I am sharing with my staff and I invite you to use as appropriate:

1. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers a number of helpful suggestions.

2. Age-Related Reactions to Traumatic Events, from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

3. The “You Can Ask” Toolkit, from Sesame Street is geared towards children 0-5.

4. Coping in Unsettling Times – Tips for Students

5. Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event – A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Thank you to the AMBIT Network for taking the time to compile this important information (#2-5.) Links to these resources will also be available on their website.

Thank you for you time this evening. Again, please let us know what you need. We are here to help all of our families during this extremely difficult time.


Jennifer Ford, Principal
Peabody School

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