Robert Leri and Adam McGill
Special to the Sun

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December 15, 2012
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Our Turn: Thoughts, reaction and reflection on Connecticut school massacre

TAHOE/TRUCKEE - Our thoughts are with all of those affected by yesterday's incomprehensible and horrific act of school violence that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. Although this tragedy occurred on the East Coast, it is deeply felt by us all. Many in our own community have expressed concern about the safety of our schools and our children.

Upon learning of the shooting, we responded immediately in providing support to students, staff, and parents:

• School staff was immediately informed of the event and provided resources to support students.

• School counselors were alerted and made available to all campuses.

• Truckee Police increased patrol and visibility at all Truckee campuses.

These resources will remain in place into next week or as long as necessary.

As public service leaders charged with the safety of our children, we want to reassure the Tahoe-Truckee community that our schools are safe and the well-being of your children is our highest priority.

TTUSD, Truckee Police Department, and other regional public safety agencies have a strong, collaborative relationship. A Truckee Police officer is assigned to Truckee schools and is in daily communication with district leadership. We continuously evaluate our prevention efforts and have robust threat assessment procedures.

The District and all public safety partners have sophisticated, integrated response plans to act quickly to protect students and staff in the event of a school emergency. District and public safety personnel have received extensive training and practice in campus emergencies. We have absolute confidence in our personnel and they are ready to respond effectively.

We recognize that some may feel their sense of security has been compromised and may have some anxiety about their children returning to our schools. Schools remain one of the safest environments for children and statistically school violence related deaths are at their lowest levels in two decades.

The number of school shootings annually has dramatically decreased. School and police procedures have radically improved since the Columbine tragedy, providing stronger prevention techniques and responses by first responders.

As you address this tragedy with your children, please consider the following:

• Providing a sense of confidence and normalcy for your children may provide comfort and reassurance.

• Limit television coverage of the event.

• Calmly and openly listen to your children's concerns.

• For younger children, it's best to be less specific and use minimal details.

• Reassure them they are safe and that their school and the police are providing safety precautions.

Please consider reviewing the following links for additional information to assist you in discussing this event and others like it with your children.

• www.ttusd.org

• http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Tips-for-Talking-With-and-Helping-Children-and-Youth-Cope-After-a-Disaster-or-Traumatic-Event/SMA12-4732

• www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/cp/tragedy.asp

Protecting our community requires active participation from everyone. We encourage all members of our community to play a part. Never hesitate to report suspicious behavior; you can do so anonymously. We treat all reports seriously and will follow up. Trust your instincts. See Something, Say Something.

We wish you the very best during this holiday season and extend our deepest condolences to Newtown, Connecticut. If you want to discuss school related violence further with either of us please do not hesitate to call.

Adam McGill is chief of police for the town of Truckee; Robert Leri is superintendent of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. McGill can be reached at amcgill@townoftruckee.com or 530-550-2329. Leri can be reached at rleri@ttusd.org or 530-582-2500.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Dec 15, 2012 05:09PM Published Dec 15, 2012 05:06PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.