A Message about the Tragic School Shooting in Connecticut

The following is an email sent by interim Superintendent Tom Ahart to all DMPS families following today’s school shooting in Connecticut:

The news today of the tragic and awful shooting at an elementary school is a stark reminder of the value of life and the obligation we have to do everything we can to keep our students and staff safe. The thoughts and prayers of all of us at Des Moines Public Schools are with the students, families and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the entire Newtown, CT community.

I know many of your children will have questions about this terrible event. (See below for a document with ideas on talking with children about this matter.) However you may talk with your child, I hope you will remind them that everyone at their school cares about them and will do everything they can for them.

At Des Moines Public Schools, the safety and security of our 32,000 students and 5,000 employees is always a top priority. You can read more about the steps we take on our web site at www.dmschools.org/departments/operations/facilities/security.

Each of our schools has a detailed plan in place to respond to a wide range of emergencies, and the district works closely with the Des Moines Police Department, Fire Department and other public safety experts.

If there is anything we learn from today’s senseless act of violence to make our strong emergency response plans even stronger, we will do so.

But first, let’s all keep the people of Connecticut in our thoughts. And tonight, let’s hug our kids just a little bit tighter.


Tom Ahart
Interim Superintendent

The following document, prepared by the National Association of School Psychologists, provides some suggestions and thoughts for parents and teachers on how to talk with students about a tragedy such as the Connecticut school shooting: Dealing with a National Crisis

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