HCPSS Responds to Violence in Washington, D.C.
January 6th, 2021
The following statement was issued by Howard County Public School System Superintendent Michael Martirano on January 6, 2021:
Dear HCPSS Families and Staff
Just like you, I was shocked to turn on the news this afternoon and witness the terrible event that occurred in our nation’s capital. The images of violence were disturbing and upsetting. I join our county and state leaders, community members, and citizens across the county in condemning this violent attack on the United States Congress as Senators and Representatives met to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The acts today to disrupt these important conversations and distract from the important role the United States Congress plays is an affront to our democracy.
The acts today have illustrated the importance of instruction on civic engagement and the role each of us play in our government. However, first and foremost, it is critical that we tend to the well-being of our students who are upset and require support. Please know that we have staff at all our schools prepared to support each other and our students who need someone to talk to. You will find some resources below for parents and educators that may be helpful as you have these difficult conversations.
I am personally feeling a wide range of emotions today and I want to remind HCPSS staff, parents and guardians to tend to your own well-being as you process today’s events. Talking to a colleague, family member or a trusted friend may help to process your thoughts and concerns and help you better support your children.
Please don’t hesitate to contact a school administrator or staff member if your child requires support. Thank you to family members and HCPSS staff for being wonderfully collaborative partners as we support our students while also having to navigate traumatic events ourselves.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides the following information for parents and educators to talk with children about violence.
- Talking to Children About Violence
- Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events: Tips for Families and Teachers
- Supporting Vulnerable Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Parents
Additional reminders from NASP include:
- Reassure children that they are safe
- Make time to talk
- Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate
- Review safety procedures
- Observe children’s emotional state
- Limit television (and social media) viewing of these events
- Maintain a normal routine