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FCPS Superintendent: Discussing Texas school shooting with your children

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Posted at 6:55 AM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 09:01:13-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Wednesday is the last day of school in Fayette County.

In an email to parents Tuesday night, superintendent Dr. Demetris Liggins said it's usually a day of celebration but parents and students are likely worried after Tuesday's Texas school shooting.

His email to FCPS families reads in part:

Dear FCPS Families:

Like you, I am troubled and saddened by the news coming out of Uvalde, Texas this afternoon about a deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School that took the lives of 18 children and their teacher. Our hearts go out to all of those personally touched by this atrocity, even as we hug our own children a little tighter this evening.

Events like this are difficult to discuss with children. If you decide as a family to talk about this situation at home, I would encourage you to minimize your children’s exposure to continuous news coverage and avoid speculation about the tragedy in front of them.
Experts recommend sharing age-appropriate factual information with children and answering their questions in ways that reassure them that an event like this is not likely to happen to you or to them. It is important to emphasize that as the adults in their lives, we do everything in our power to keep them safe.

We have some tips for talking with children about high-profile incidents of violence on the district website here [fcps.net]. There is a collection of emotional support and self-care resources for FCPS students, families, and school staff at this site [sites.google.com] as well as here [fcps.net]. You may also submit a request for support from your school’s team at this link [dna.fcps.net].

We are fortunate in the Fayette County Public Schools that our community has helped to fund investments of more than $50 million in health and safety measures at every school. In the past four years, our district has hired nearly 100 additional nurses and mental health professionals, built secure vestibules on every campus, added door alarms to all exterior doors, upgraded building security features, and doubled the number of police officers serving our schools.

Tomorrow is the last day of school in FCPS and many of our campuses have planned celebrations and special events. Please be patient and understand that we must still be vigilant about following all district procedures regarding locked doors, building access, and supervision.

Topics like this can be tough to discuss with kids, so if you choose to talk with your own children, Dr. Liggins says it's important to do so in an age-appropriate and factual way.

Experts say start the conversation. Not talking about it can make the event even more threatening and chances are your student has likely heard about it, according to advice from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

When talking about a shooting, the organization advises that you ask children what they already know and encourage them to ask questions.

Try to limit media exposure including sounds and images of the shooting, and do not allow very young children to see any shooting-related messages on TV.

Know that kids and teens will have common reactions to this tragedy, including anxiety or trouble concentrating. Those reactions should improve within a few weeks.