TPSD to upgrade school entries

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo School district intends to upgrade its entry systems at every school, Superintendent Gearl Loden said on Monday in messages e-mailed to staff, faculty and parents.
“The horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School has saddened us all,” Loden said in the message. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Sandy Hook families and school community as they deal with the pain of their terrible loss.”
Loden said last week’s school shooting has served as a critical reminder for the district to evaluate its safety procedures.
“We have learned from this experience,” he said. “…I will be in communication with our teachers and administrators to address concerns and offer resources. We are doing everything we know to keep students and staff safe while at school.”
The superintendent said he met with principals on Monday to ensure they have the resources they need to respond to student and staff questions. He also offered suggestions from the National Association of School Psychologists for parents to help their children cope with the news.
Those tips included:
• Reassuring children they are safe.
• Explaining all feelings are OK and allowing children to talk about their feelings.
• Letting their questions be a guide about how much information to provide.
• Being aware that children and youth do not always readily talk about their feelings.
• Keeping explanations developmentally appropriate – for instance, children in second grade and younger need simple information balanced with reassurances, while older children may have more concerns about whether they are really safe.
• Observing children’s emotional state and watching for changes in behavior, appetite and sleep patterns. In most children these symptoms will ease with time, but some may need professional help.
• Limiting television viewing of the events.

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