Dear Bethel Community,
We are deeply saddened by the tragic news about a shooting earlier today at an elementary school in a small town in Texas. We are deeply saddened by this terrible event. Our thoughts are with the Ulvade community and the families of those who lost their lives or were injured.
We recognize that news such as this can be shocking and can have a deep impact on our school communities. We also know that such a tragic occurrence can prompt increased feelings of anxiety, fear, and worry about being at school. We want to reassure our Bethel community that schools are safe places, and that we are always looking for ways to reinforce and improve the effectiveness of our safety measures.
These measures include frequent practice of emergency procedures, regular review of physical security and safety procedures, and a close partnership with our local police. We are committed to providing a safe environment for staff and students every day.
In addition, one of our best tools is the number of strong, caring relationships and partnerships with our students, their families and our community. All students are welcomed and belong here in Bethel, and such caring relationships allow us to look out for one another.
As always, we ask that staff and families be our partners in safety. In Bethel, students are often encouraged to tell a trusted adult about any situation or information that is concerning to them. We also encourage families to talk with students about how to be safe at home, in their neighborhood, and on the way to and from school.
Other safety tips that families and their students can consider:
- Report information anonymously to Safe Oregon via text, call or email.
- Always notify the school if you know of an unsafe situation, and call 911 first if it is an emergency.
- Always check in at the front office if you will be a visitor at the school
- If you see anyone unauthorized on campus, tell school staff right away
- Provide the school office with your complete current contact information—if there is ever an emergency we will use email, home phones, cell phones, websites or other communication to notify you with accurate information as quickly as we can
Resources for talking with children
Following the events of this week, students may have fears and questions about their schools’ safety. They may look to parents, guardians, and their school community for guidance. Parents can help children feel safe by talking with them openly about their fears and reassuring them that schools are very safe places and dangerous events are rare. You can find more information here:
- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
- Helping children with tragic events in the news – PBS for Parents
- Talking to children about violence: tips for parents and teachers – National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Thank you for joining us in sending our deepest sympathy to the community of Uvalde, Texas, that is grieving this terrible event. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Sincerely, Kraig Sproles, Bethel Superintendent