By Christine Heine, Head of School
Wednesday’s horrific mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida impacts us all. The ongoing violence is so deeply painful to read about and immeasurably worse for the communities and families it touches so personally. We grieve for the victims and their families and remain committed to taking action to strengthen the safety and well-being of our community.
Several recent and ongoing measures have strengthened and expanded our preparation and response to possible incidents. Below are several YCDS initiatives in current operation:
- Active Shooter Response Training (ALICE) training sessions. YCDS faculty has completed two of three sessions to train faculty using this process. Our next training session scheduled for March 13 and includes the participation of York College Campus Safety and Spring Garden Township Police Department. We plan to include students in this process after the completion of this training.
- A Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Team from the Pennsylvania State Police is scheduled to visit YCDS for a two-day assessment in March. This on-site visit, analysis, and report will help to inform and improve all safety measures at our school.
- YCDS Safety Plan. We have developed and coordinated a school safety plan with York College of Pennsylvania to provide instructions and protocols for possible incidents that may occur at school.
- Ongoing practice drills for fire, weather-related emergencies, building evacuation, school lockdown, and more.
Our emergency response protocols are as important as our work to nurture and improve the social and emotional wellness of our students. York Country Day School is a community with great empathy, kindness, and compassion. Collectively, we care about and for one another. Our social and emotional curriculum and initiatives continue to grow and expand to meet the needs of our students. We are delighted to announce that we will add a school counselor to our faculty next year. This role is much needed and will serve our community in nurturing the emotional wellness of our students.
As parents, it can be challenging to determine how to discuss tragedies with your child. I have included a few helpful resources help you navigate discussions at home:
- Talking to Children About Tragedies (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Helping Kids After a Shooting (American School Counselor Association)
- Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)
- Helping Children Cope with Frightening News (Child Mind Institute)
- Helping Children Cope with Terrorism – Tips for Families and Educators (National Association of School Psychologists)
York Country Day School will continue to keep our community safe and healthy. I welcome your feedback, insights, and partnership in this most important work.