Message to Families - October 26, 2023

October 26, 2023

Dear Shrewsbury Families,

I’m sure you have seen the tragic news of the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine.  There are members of our school communities with ties to the area who have relatives, friends, or acquaintances 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 your school’s website by clicking on “mental health and wellness resources,” or call the school’s main line and you will be directed to someone who can help.

Please remember:

  • These incidents are disturbing to all of us, and it is easy to personalize them.  It is natural to feel a range of emotions when we see the news of tragedies where people, including young people, are senselessly murdered, and it is normal to have thoughts of “What if?” regarding our own community.  While this is scary to think about for all of us, as adults we need to do our best to be calm and reassuring with our children, rather than transmitting fear and anxiety.
  • Social media can amplify fear.  Many students have viewed the news of this latest mass murder through a variety of online platforms.  I strongly encourage parents and caregivers to be aware of your child’s media exposure regarding this incident and to speak to your children about it.  Children process violent events in different ways and can be affected by them even when they occur elsewhere.  Please click here for resources regarding how to talk with your children about violence and mass shootings. 
  • The Shrewsbury Public Schools, Shrewsbury Police Department, and Shrewsbury Fire Department have been working together for many years in an effort to make our schools safe. We, along with our community partners, are constantly reviewing our safety plans and procedures, conducting drills, and making improvements in an ongoing manner.  We continue to seek out best practices – just this week, a consulting firm with expertise in school safety and security visited all of our schools to conduct an audit of our approach, and they will provide a report to us in early December.
  • Our staff and students prepare for possible emergencies.  In addition to traditional fire drills, our students and staff participate in lockdown, secure, and shelter in place drills that could apply to intruder or active shooter incidents, as well as other scenarios such as a tornado threat.  We utilize the Standard Response Protocol as a framework for our approach to emergency response.  
  • The most important school safety work we do is creating caring, respectful school environments where students are supported and feel comfortable reaching out to adults. We know that the potential for school and community violence is minimized when students feel connected to their school community, when they have access to support for their emotional well-being, and when students who perceive something is not right with a situation tell a trusted adult.  We actively work to create these kinds of school cultures.  
  • If you see something, say something.  Please see the information below regarding how to contact our school district or the Shrewsbury Police Department if you believe something is not right and might pose a threat to our community.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Please do reach out to your child’s school if you feel they need assistance.



Joe Sawyer

Superintendent of Schools


National Association of School Psychologists – Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents & Teachers


Please be reminded that one thing that is within our control is to "say something if you see something" if you believe something is "off" that might pose a threat to our community.  Please see the information below for how to contact our school district or the Shrewsbury Police if you believe there is a risk of someone doing something harmful or violent.


You can send an anonymous tip to the school district using our School Safety Tip online form.  This tip form is linked at the very top of every web page on our website.

You can make a non-emergency call to the Shrewsbury Police Department at 508-841-8577.

Submit a tip, which can be anonymous, using the Shrewsbury Police Department’s “See It, Say It, Send It” online tip form

Text a tip to the Shrewsbury Police Department at 410-847-7837

Download the “See It, Say It, Send It” app and use it to submit a tip to the Shrewsbury Police (the app uses “geofencing technology”)

You can use the QR codes below as well. 

Multicolor image of QR codes for various safety tip submissions


This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.