Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff,
This message is to update you on the events that have taken place since this morning’s communication regarding the events in Lewiston last evening.
Our administrative team met throughout the day, and each school convened a meeting with their crisis team that includes counselors and other staff members with building administration. We have also consulted with local law enforcement as student and staff safety are of our highest priority.
There are still some unknowns and Friday’s plan will depend on whether or not the suspect is in custody. We also know that area law enforcement agencies that serve our district have actively been on scene and are continuing support with an elevated level of alert.
If law enforcement has custody of the suspect, we will have school on Friday, October 27 with a two hour delay for students only. Staff will report to school at their regular time and will meet with their building administrator and crisis team members to review the plan for student and staff support.
In the event the suspect is not in custody, all schools will be closed tomorrow, October 27. The buildings will remain closed to all for the day. This decision is based on recommendation from law enforcement in our collective efforts to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Staff will be contacted by their building administrators to review the plan.
I will notify staff and families tomorrow morning by 5:15 about the decision to open schools or to close for the day.
Thank you to our community for your support and understanding as we work through this tragic situation. Thank you to our law enforcement and other emergency services first responders for their courage and commitment to safeguard us all. Thank you to our administrators, school crisis team members, support service personnel, and all our caring staff who I am confident are ready to help our students.
Take care and be well.
Superintendent of Schools
This link below has some helpful information:
Please take a moment to review the resources I sent our earlier today—here is the MDOE resource in its entirety—
Dear Champions of Education,
In light of the tragic shootings in Lewiston, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) has pulled together some initial resources for talking to children about violence and shootings and supporting one another. The Maine DOE will be providing additional resources as we learn more.
Talking to Children
Provide a short statement of fact: Violence took place in our community and many people were hurt. Students are safe here. You are safe. There are people here who can help you.
- Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.
- Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance processing the incident. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to ensure their safety.
- Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe communities and schools, communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators and parents/guardians, and accessing support for emotional needs.
Mental Health First Aid
- Monitor and assess impact: Students and colleagues will be affected in different ways. We do not know how this event has affected people – directly and/or indirectly. Continue to assess impact of the event on those around you.
- Be mindful of self-regulation to assist youth in maintaining a level of safety and connection.
- If you are an educator in need of additional support, The FrontLine WarmLine is also available from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week by calling 207-221-8196 or texting 898-211.
- If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers Talking to Children about the Shooting (nctsn.org). Shootings such as this tragedy evokes many emotions—sadness, grief, helplessness, anxiety, and anger. Children and adults are likely struggling with their thoughts and feelings about the stories and images of the shooting may turn to trusted adults for help and guidance.
Resources for educators and parents to support children of different age levels manage feelings of anxiety and helplessness following a tragedy: Helping Children Cope With Tragedy Related Anxiety | Mental Health America (mhanational.org)
US Department of Health and Human Services Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events: https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/tips-talking-to-children-after-traumatic-event.pdf
Dear MSAD 49 Community,
Yesterday’s horrific events in Lewiston leave us in shock and disbelief with deep sorrow for the families most closely affected. Our heartfelt sympathies to those families and the Lewiston community. Our feelings about the violence committed there transcend city boundaries. Living in Maine feels, in many ways, that you are part of community that is closely knit and sheltered.
After hearing from law enforcement and consulting with area superintendents, I closed schools today. State-wide, superintendents are meeting about how to adequately respond to student and staff needs. Our district response team is also meeting today.
We know our students will need support as the situation evolves and more information is disclosed. We know that our staff will also need support to care for students and each other. For anyone who knows someone who may need help in the face of these events, please contact your building administrator—our team will respond. Here are some resources that may be helpful in this moment:
I will keep you informed of our next steps as we work together with administration and staff. Stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
Superintendent of Schools