To the Bonsall School Community,

We don’t have all the details on the school shooting in Connecticut, but it is always difficult to put into words what a superintendent feels when a school shooting occurs.  Although we prepare plans, train personnel, and perform drills with students, we are always heartbroken to hear that evil has again found a way through our defense.  As a member of the crisis response team for the shootings at Granite Hills High School in 2001, I recall telling the Grossmont district superintendent, how impressed I was at the quick and efficient response to the crisis; he just looked at me sadly and said, “We shouldn’t have to be really good at this.”   We shouldn’t have to; but we have no choice.  Several school shootings have taken place in our nation since then.

It reminds me of the quote by General Dwight Eisenhower, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”  Although it is difficult to measure the number of events that never happened, preparation for a school shooting has undoubtedly saved many lives. There are many examples when observant, and/or trained personnel prevented a potential shooting.   We don’t have all the details on the shooting in Connecticut, but we do know that further carnage was prevented by the safety protocols in place.

Just as the Santana High School shooting over ten years ago prompted a closer look at bullying prevention, this horrible shooting experience will surely bring closer scrutiny to mental health issues of students.  Mental health support is becoming a greater issue for schools as children bear the brunt of less support services in their families and community due to lack of access.  Although counseling for students psychologically affected by this tragedy is available, our schools have not noted increased demand.  It appears that most parents are aware that too much media exposure to tragic events heightens anxiety.  We applaud their efforts to protect their children from the media spin.  As a district we have not brought the tragedy to their attention, but as the flags are flown at half-mast there will be questions we must answer.  As more information is released we will respond accordingly.  The drills we practice will surely have more relevance.

Our children’s safety is our primary concern.  We share our prayers and thoughts supporting all in our country that are mourning this terrible tragedy, particularly the survivors and loved ones of the precious victims of all school shootings.  May we join our broken hearts to create a mosaic that provides the picture of a vision of how we can all work together to prevent such a horrible tragedy from ever happening again.