Dear AAPS Students, Staff and Families,
We are deeply troubled and saddened by the shocking news of the shootings at Michigan State University last evening and the tragic loss of life. Our hearts are broken today for the students, staff and families who have experienced the death or injury of a loved one and the significant trauma impacting so many from this senseless act.
We stand in full support of our East Lansing neighbors - our colleagues, students and families, the entire Michigan State University community and all who are affected, including those who are connected from within our own Ann Arbor community. We know the days ahead will be incredibly challenging, and we pledge to continue to extend our concern, care and support to all who are experiencing trauma, pain and loss.
Yesterday’s events are another sobering reminder of the possibility of tragedy occurring in any school community. Please be assured that the Ann Arbor Public Schools has a comprehensive emergency response plan in place, works closely with local multiple-agency law enforcement and regularly conducts preparedness drills and activities throughout the year. The safety of our students and staff will always remain our top priority.
We are all affected by tragic school violence, and we understand that our students, staff, parents and families within our Ann Arbor Public Schools community may be feeling sadness, loss and even fear.
Our AAPS team will continue the care, compassion, and consistency at school each day that is so very important for our students. Please reach out to a trusted adult, including your school principal, counselor or teacher, if you feel your child may need additional support. Counselors, social workers and student support will be available at school.
We appreciate that you know your child best and how they may react. The following resources, shared by our school psychologists, may be helpful when talking with your child about this tragedy.
National Association of School Psychologists article: Talking to Children About Violence: https://tinyurl.com/4a7kbka5
Talking to your children about school shootings: http://www.apa.org/topics/gun-violence-crime/school-shooting
Also, in the AAPS, we utilize OK2SAY as a confidential way to report threats to student safety and school personnel. Anyone can report tips confidentially on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees or schools. Tips can be submitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This is an important time to continue our care for each other and our compassionate support of our students in this Ann Arbor Public Schools community. I know we will all continue to hold the students, staff, and families of the victims and the entire Michigan State University and East Lansing community close during this very difficult time.
Jeanice Kerr Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools