HELPING YOUR CHILD IN DIFFICULT TIMESSituations like the one we experienced with today’s weather emergency may be difficult for both children and adults. Sheltering in place and hearing loud noises (among other concerning occurrences) during the storm may have resulted in strong, unwanted emotional responses for your child. It is possible that she or he might experience fear, anxiety, insecurity, and anger during situations like this.Listed below are behaviors that you may see in your children:
Some children show feelings in a direct and immediate fashion while others may wait until a later time. A child’s emotional response to a difficult situation may not last long, but some problems may be present or recur later. Children need continued guidance and understanding from loving and caring adults. The following activities may be helpful for your child:
- Becomes more active, restless, “jumpy” or have difficulty paying attention
- Becomes easily upset, cry and whine more frequently
- Becomes angry, act out, or get into trouble
- Appears quiet and withdrawn or not want to talk
- Has difficulty with separation or is afraid to be left alone
- Behaves as they did when younger (g., thumb sucking, clingy, etc.)
- Changes in the eating and sleeping patterns
- Expresses physical complaints (e.g., headaches, stomachaches, etc.)
Children will look to adults to for reassurance and to know how they should respond. As a result it is important to be aware of your own anxiety and model a calm demeanor. If you are overwhelmed by anxiety caused by the situation, take steps to deal with your feelings before affecting your child.
- Take time to comfort and reassure your child. Provide simple accurate information to questions. Allow the child to tell their stories about what happened. Reassure your child that adults are taking care of them.
- Talk with your child about their feelings. Let them know that you, too, feel sadness, confusion, etc. Share ways you calm yourself and offer your child ways he/she can use to remain or become calm.
- Hold and touch your child often. Touch can be important to children when they have experiencing strong unwanted emotions.
- Spend extra time with your child at bedtime. Talk and offer assurance.
- Limit the amount of exposure to violent television, movies, videos, and computer games. This includes news coverage of today’s weather and social media chatter related to the storm.
- If you find your child is having problems at school, talk to his/her teacher or school counselor, psychologist or social worker so you can work together to help your child.
In an emergency situation, we must be able to contact you.
• Please provide accurate emergency contact information to your child's school at the start of the year.
• Update your contact information with school staff as soon as it changes.
Safety has always been and will always be a priority in Cabarrus County Schools. We are unwavering in our commitment to providing our students and staff with a safe learning and working environment so our staff and students can focus on teaching and learning.
Through long-standing partnerships with the Concord Police Department, Kannapolis Police Department and the Cabarrus County Sherriff’s Department, we have school resource officers (SROs) in all of our schools. Among their many responsibilities, our SROs assess and investigate threats to our school communities. We take every threat seriously and investigate each one thoroughly.
It's important to remember that hoax threats are not a joke, and they can have devastating consequences—both for the public and for the perpetrators. Issuing a hoax threat—even over social media, via text message, or through e-mail—can be a federal crime. For more information, click here.
One of the newest measures to be implemented in the district will be random Safety Checks using metal detectors at our middle and high schools. The random use of metal detectors is another layer of our safety protocols. We want to deter students from bringing weapons and inappropriate items to school and believe these devices will help us to do that. Before we begin using the devices, school staff will receive training, and we will talk with students about what to expect during these Safety Checks and how important it is for them to cooperate during them. The Safety Checks will begin in phases this spring with plans to complete implementation in secondary schools this fall.
Parents and staff from several elementary schools throughout the district have reported concerns about what is being referred to as the Momo Challenge. There is some debate as to whether or not this is a hoax or a credible threat to children. The images and videos may be alarming and frightening for many kids.
While we are unable to verify any instances of this concerning internet challenge occurring locally we would like to provide some on-line safety tips for parents and caregivers:
- Make sure your kids know not to contact adults or people you don’t know on line
- Have your child show you what is on their phone, especially social networking apps
- Keep lines of communication open with children about topics that create strong unwanted emotional responses
- Restrict access to screen time and discourage use of devices during unsupervised hours
- Have a “check in” time for all electronic devices
- Remind children of the power of negative peer pressure and encourage them to talk to you
Parents may consider the resources listed below for further information of supporting kids’ internet safety:
In today’s information on-demand society, it is easy to understand why expectations for immediate information about situations exist. We know students begin contacting their parents and sharing information on social media as soon as an incident occurs (or even in real time as it is unfolding) – a result of the times in which we live. However, this can lead to incomplete and often times incorrect information being conveyed.
- As a district, we want to ensure we are communicating complete and accurate information to parents, the media and our community. Once we have resolved a situation or have secured the safety of our students and staff, we will communicate as quickly as we can. This response includes the return to normal operations, reunification of students with parents (if necessary), as well as communication with parents, staff and the media.
- During emergency situations such as lockdowns or school evacuations, our priority is ensuring the safety of our students and staff and securing our campuses. Most times, we will not communicate until the situation is resolved.
- We must account for hundreds of students – some who need assistance and equipment in order to be moved – as well as, all staff members.
- We also are working with law enforcement, following their instructions as they work to keep us safe, maintain order and in some cases, make clear a path for us to physically move people from one location to another.
Our district has experienced threats. Both real and prank. We are grateful for the assistance law enforcement has provided in assessing, identifying and resolving them.
Prank threats, regardless of the manner in which they are made, are crimes. They divert law enforcement’s time and attention from serving the needs of those in our community who really are experiencing an emergency and need help. Students who share prank posts and spread rumors about pranks can be just as accountable as the person who initiated it.
If a student, parent, or community member becomes aware of a threat, it is important to speak up. Immediately, do the following:
- Tell a responsible adult (parent, police officer, teacher, school administrator)
- Never repost or share the threat on social media or other online platforms
- Remember that time is of the essence – reporting the threat immediately allows the investigation of its validity to begin
- See Something, Say Something Sandy Hook Promise Resources
- In addition to having SROs in our buildings, we have established safety protocols and procedures
- security vestibule plan – access control
- a visitor registration system
- security cameras on campuses and school buses
- bullying and harassment reporting
- a process for signing students in and out of school
- mandatory drills and safety audits
- SAVE Clubs in all of our middle schools (Sandy Hook Promise Information)
- safety tip line to report safety violations or concerns (Coming Fall 2019)
- Each of our schools has a safety plan that is updated annually and safety audits
- Our district conducts safety drills and additional training throughout the year to ensure that our staff and students know what to do in the event of an emergency or crisis situation
- District-wide safety committee develops and refines safety protocols for the district
- District incident command team manages and coordinates district responses to emergencies and crises