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Message from Superintendent Marten


Dear Members of the San Diego Unified Family:

The attack on the synagogue in Poway was an attack on our entire community.  Once again, people of faith have been maimed and murdered as they took part in peaceful prayer.  At this time, when followers of every religion unite in grief, it is worth remembering that love is at the center of every faith: Love that binds, love that nurtures, love that comforts, and love that heals.  Today, love is what we wish for all broken-hearted families from Christchurch, New Zealand to Colombo, Sri Lanka to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, to our own community of Poway.

It is impossible to make sense of the senseless, but as we struggle to come to terms with the violent attack on our neighbors in Poway this weekend, I wanted to share some of the ways our schools are preparing for our students’ return today.  This email also includes some advice for families to discuss these issues together at home.  I hope these resources bring comfort to those in our community who continue to feel this tragedy very deeply.

Schools will have additional counselors and mental health professionals available at sites today to monitor and supervise classrooms, ensuring our students are safe and have someone with whom they can talk.  Our teams will be available to comfort students as they work through their feelings and emotions during this difficult situation.

As you discuss this with your child/student, please pay attention to how their appetite or sleeping patterns may change due to his/her feelings.  Please notice any emotional distress at home and inform us of any support needed.  During times of concern, the following emotions are sometimes present: anxiety about one’s own family and friends and/or shifts in moods and academic performance.

The best way to support your child during these times is to be available for them and to listen to their concerns.  Please keep in mind that feelings are all unique to individuals and they also come and go.  Also know that a team of qualified professionals is here for you at school if you or your child need to connect with counseling services.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your school principal or counselor to share any concerns you have about how your child is processing this situation.  I also wanted to share these resources compiled by the Anti-Defamation League: http://bit.ly/ADL-Chabad-shooting

I hope everyone finds strength in the fact San Diego Unified is a single family, and in times like these, it is up to all adults to be more than unified.  We must be unifiers.  Thank you for supporting students as we do this critical work.

Cindy Marten
Superintendent, San Diego Unified School District