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Paso Robles school district superintendent responds to Connecticut massacre 


Kathy McNamara

Paso Robles Joint Union School District Superintendent Kathy McNamara released a statement about the school massacre in Connecticut:

Good Morning All,

As I reflected over the weekend on the tragedy that occurred in Connecticut on Friday, I wanted to share with all of you what I believe we need to do to help our children overcome their grief, stress, and challenge regarding the situation.

I believe the effects of this particular incident are far-reaching for our students.  This was made clear to me over the weekend when I had a friend who cried to me and said how sorrowful she felt because it brought up memories of a grandchild she had who was involved in an accident and died at a very young age.

This incident stirs up many emotions in all of us and brings back painful memories for many of us.  I hope as we approach discussions with our students we will be sensitive to this very fact.  I believe we need to talk to our students about how sometimes people become sad, depressed, and have mental illnesses which often make them act in ways they would not normally behave.  Our students need to have an understanding of people who have these challenges and unfortunately do things we cannot understand.

We should also engage our students in a clear understanding of following all safety protocols.  We need our students to be vigilant and ever mindful of anything out of the ordinary in or around the school grounds.  We need to review all safety protocols with our students to assure their safety as well as the safety of all staff members.  It is paramount that each of us do our  part to maintain safety not only for our students but for one another.

During this holiday season other stressful emotions come into play and our students sometimes don’t understand how joyful the outside world may be with its advertising and gift-giving, while in many of their individual homes there is sadness and despair.  We need to do our part to also discuss how they can cope with these kinds of stresses.

As I said in the beginning of this email, this goes far beyond the incident that occurred in Connecticut on Friday.  This horrific tragedy speaks to our national challenge of mental health issues, gun control issues, and laws that affect our nation.

Please use your most sensitive care and caution in your discussions today, and remember that you’re dealing with young people who have a capacity to understand only so much.  We are the adults who must be the role models and give them hope and strength that things will get better and that our world can be a good place.  But it will take each of us together to make this happen.

I wish for each of you a better week, a better day, and most importantly I want to thank you for the hard work you do each and every day.  Your efforts do not go unnoticed.

Kathy McNamara

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.