October 12, 2023
Dear Shrewsbury Families & Colleagues,
While we are very fortunate to live and work in a safe and stable community, all too often in recent times we receive the news of tragedies that occur around the world, including natural disasters and war. As an increasingly diverse community with families from all over the globe, some of our neighbors and colleagues have personal connections to terrible events that happen far away. Like me, I’m sure you have been horrified by the terrorist attacks against Israel and deeply concerned about the emerging war in Gaza. There are members of our school communities with ties to the region who have relatives or friends who are affected by the violence, and I ask families to let your school know if your child is being impacted so that we can provide support. You can always access school counselors and psychologists on our school’s website by clicking on “mental health and wellness resources,” or call the school and you will be directed to someone who can help.
While younger students may not be aware of these events, some likely are, and most if not all older students will be getting information through various sources, including social media. Our educators and counselors are skillful at helping students process concerns they may have about tragic events in the news. There are many resources online that can help families and educators support children and young people on this topic, including this one from the National Association of School Psychologists.
Violence and war related to national, religious, and cultural identities provoke strong emotions. Our responsibility is to ensure that our schools are environments where all of our students are supported and feel that they belong, and where, at an age-appropriate level, they process current events and learn about difficult and controversial topics in an atmosphere free from bias and prejudice, as our longstanding policy makes clear. I am confident that you, our staff and families, will model and promote our community’s core value of respect and provide any necessary guidance and support our students require in light of the evolving situation in Israel and Gaza.
Superintendent of Schools