Thoughts and Prayers are Not Enough

Once again, a terrible gun-related tragedy has taken place at a school in our country—one that has left nine innocent people dead and nine others critically injured. While the details of the Oregon-based Umpqua Community College shooting are still unfolding, the only thing that is clear is that this was yet another act of senseless violence, something that takes place far too often in the United States.

In his emotional address last week, President Obama said this type of tragedy has become "routine" recalling his similar speeches after the massacres in Connecticut, Colorado, Arizona, Texas and more recently in Charleston, South Carolina. While it was difficult to watch, the president's sense of hopelessness is easily understood. Thoughts and prayers are not enough and most important they do not prevent future acts of violence.

Sadly, even as I write to the GSB community, I realize that we can easily take what I wrote one, two or three years ago with regard to a senseless gun-related attack and just change the dates and places. Unfortunately, until our lawmakers and our country are willing to tackle lax gun laws and an extremely convoluted mental health system, it is only a matter of time until the next incident. 

While anger and fear following an attack like this is natural, it is also important to remember that events such as this are still extremely rare and to reassure our children that they are safe. Our school takes the particular responsibility of security most seriously and has deployed many resources—security personnel and measures—to keep our children, faculty and staff safe at all times.
Tragedies such as the one that took place last week are difficult for anyone to understand, but children can be especially frightened and confused by this violence. They may ask "why?" While it is impossible to even begin to make sense of such a horrific event, the resources below, which I initially shared following the December 2012 shootings in Newtown, Conn., may help.
As always, our teachers and school administrators are available to our students and parents should they have any questions or concerns.
Warm regards,
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.