The fifth letter from Superintendent Jerry Weast in the past several days expresses thanks to all people helping in the effort to keep schools safe. This letter was not distributed to Blair students today.
The letter is reproduced below:
October 11, 2002
Dear Parents, Students, and Staff:
More than 1,100 volunteers arrived at elementary schools throughout Montgomery County yesterday to help children walk safely to school. These parents, community members, private industry workers, business executives, government employees, and others answered the call by elementary principals for assistance. Even more were expected today. The unprecedented response is in keeping with the public's support for our schools and the community's understanding that vulnerable children need visual reminders of safety and courage from adults.
These are times that require courage, not bravery and heroics, but just the emotional strength to do what is right in the face of worry and fear. There are simple acts of courage all around us. Bus drivers and crossing guards, for example, continue to place the safety of our children first and foremost. Others, too, have placed the events of the past week behind them as they move forward with their jobs and responsibilities, making sure that the focus on teaching and learning in our school district remains our priority.
Nonetheless, the school district is providing support for those suffering from the effects of anxiety. School psychologists, pupil personnel workers, guidance counselors, and other staff with expertise in crisis intervention and support are assisting students, families, and staff. Behind the scenes, the Employee Assistance Program and the Montgomery County Mental Health Association also are providing much needed help. Please continue to visit the school system's new website at www.mcps.k12.md.us/info/emergency for updated information and materials that will be helpful in addressing the emotional needs of children and adults.
These are difficult times. In response to events that occurred this morning, all outdoor student and community activities, including athletic events, were canceled at schools for this afternoon and the entire weekend. All indoor student and community activities will continue.
Our decisions regarding the unfolding events will continue to be made on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully, the crisis will end soon, but in reality we must be prepared for a lengthy task. I ask my staff to do the same things that I expect of myself get plenty of rest each night, stay close to family and friends, find encouragement in the beauty of life's unexpected gifts, and be prepared for the stress of the unknown. We will get through this challenge if, like the volunteers at the elementary schools, we keep our focus on doing what is right for our children.
Jerry D. Weast, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
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