Letter to Students, Parents and Staff on Impact of National Tragedy

September 13, 2001
The following is the text of a letter sent home today [Thursday, September 13] from Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, regarding the response of the school system to this week' events. The letter includes the "Helping Children Cope with Crisis" statement released yesterday and attached here as PDF files in English and other languages.


Dear Students, Parents, and Staff:

There are no words to express adequately the immense sense of grief in response to the tragedy that has struck our nation and our community. Many of our students and staff and their families have suffered loss and injury among relatives and friends in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. The true impact of these events will not be known for several days, even weeks. At this time, however, the resources of the Montgomery County Public Schools have been mobilized to assist the members of our educational community.

Information is being provided to school staff to support them in assisting students, other staff, and their families. Staff members who are trained to cope with crises have been made available at each school to address student and staff concerns and other issues. These efforts are being supported by a collaborative initiative of the school system's Office of Student and Community Services, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, and the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County. Other members of the community who are mental health professionals also have lent a helping hand.

Parents and other family members can help to address anxieties and concerns among individual children. Children may show anxieties and other feelings in very different ways. The attached handout provides a guide for responding to the needs of children. If children continue to experience difficulties, please call their teacher or counselor. In extreme circumstances, please also call the county’s crisis hotline (240-777-4000).

I have been very impressed with the responsiveness of so many staff, parents, students, and members of the public to the needs of our educational community. Their gracious interest in the well-being of others provides an example for all of us as the events affecting our nation continue to unfold.


Jerry D. Weast, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Note: The "Helping Children Cope with Crisis" statement is available through the direct links below:

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