As the school year draws to a close, I would…
Dear Parents and Caregivers
Our deepest sympathy and thoughts goes out to all who have been immediately affected by the events in Christchurch. As a New Zealand Community we have all been immensely affected by it.
It has been an extremely difficult weekend for New Zealand and especially our Muslim community. I know that you will all stand with the Cornwall Park District School School community in sending our prayers, condolences and aroha to all who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. As a school we want to acknowledge the heroic efforts of those who went to the aid of their community and to the incredible emergency services and other personnel in Christchurch, who, after the terrible earthquakes of eight years before, were last Friday hit by yet another traumatic event in their beautiful city. These people poured everything they had into saving the lives of others and ensuring their community’s safety during such a critical time of need. We commend the swift and calm actions that were taken and feel proud of those community heroes.
We would also like to acknowledge our teacher and support staff colleagues in Christchurch, who remained calm and strong, taking care of their students in lockdowns throughout the city until it was safe to release them to their families. Kia kaha and thank you to all those people. I would also like to take this opportunity to reassure you, that like our Christchurch counterparts, we also have robust lockdown procedures in place.
We know that your children will have many questions and their age will determine how to respond. Children take their cue from their parents, caregivers and teachers. They will be looking to see how the adults are reacting. We will keep focused on kindness, hope and respect. We will not give any of our energy to the hatred that led to this extreme act of violence. We will answer students’ questions as best we can without going into specific detail; we will focus on how amazing the emergency services were in coming to everyone’s aid so quickly and that it is over now. The most important thing our tamariki need from all of us is our presence, our love and the safety and comfort of routine as much as possible. Part of that will also be maintaining routines and because of this, all planned Union meetings for next week have been postponed.
We realize that events such as these can be distressing for our pupils. As always the best place to have these conversation is within your family and whanau. As a school we will be providing support for any students or staff who need some time to process this sad event.
Tomorrow we will hold a one minute silence in classes to remember those whose lives have been lost. Teachers will discuss the following with students:
- The importance of treating everyone with respect care and dignity. Our kindness and respect values,
- Allowing students the opportunity to express their feelings i.e. by drawing on the courts with chalk at lunchtime, or making a card expressing condolences that we might leave at our local mosque,
- That this is not a common occurrence and they are safe at school,
- We will also reinforce lockdown procedures – and how well the students in Christchurch did in this emergency.
I have attached a resource from the Ministry of Education, and the links below may also be useful to members of our community.
To our precious Muslim families, we mourn with you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if your children need any particular support at school.
As-salamu alaykum – Peace be upon you
Take care and Kia kaha.
Resources for educators and families
Helping children deal with trauma – Ministry of Health website
Oranga Tamariki website
Children’s Commissioner NZ Facebook page