In a letter to families, District 65 Supt. Hardy Murphy said that he had placed local schools "on alert" following a horrific mass shooting that left 27 dead at a Connecticut elementary school, as well as two recent fatal shootings in Evanston. Murphy also said that he had requested "a more visible presence" from local police, and that the district's security company would be checking buildings for safety over the coming weeks.
We have reprinted Murphy's letter in full below.
Dear District 65 Families,
Today our hearts are heavy with the news coming out of Connecticut concerning the elementary school shooting. This senseless act of violence as well as the recent incidents of violence in our own community prompted me to place all of our schools on alert to ensure that we are maintaining a high level of vigilance during this very disturbing time. I have asked our principals to talk with their students about the procedures they are expected to follow during any emergency in order to be safe.
I know that it is difficult to shelter our young children from tragic stories in the media. They may have questions that are hard to answer because there is no way to make sense of this kind of tragedy. You know your child best. If they talk to you, please reassure them that we are doing what we can at school to keep them safe. If you believe that they need additional support on Monday, let your child’s principal know so that arrangements can be made for them to speak with the school social worker.
I reached out to the Evanston Police Chief and the Skokie Police Department to ask for a more visible presence in and around our schools. We also have engaged the services of our school security company to visit our schools over the next week or so. These are precautionary measures to help our students, staff, and faculty feel safe at school and are also being undertaken to create heightened vigilance. It will be important for you to have conversations with your child about how to be safe. There are some resources online at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (www.nctsn.org) that may help you in that regard. I know that you, as I, are simply devastated and heartbroken over the events that have transpired this morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Hardy Murphy, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools