Dear Members of the WPS Community:
I’m writing to share an update following what we know has been a difficult week for our community following the tragic events that are continuing to unfold in Israel and Gaza. Many members of our community have direct connections to this area and have reached out to share how deeply they and their families have been affected by the terrorist attacks on Saturday and the ensuing violence that has now escalated into war. The daily video images broadcast on multiple media platforms have amplified the human toll of these events.
Within this context, we have been striving to ensure that our schools remain a safe space for all of our students. Antisemitism and Islamophobia have never been acceptable within WPS, and that remains the case now. We have students, staff and families with strong affinities to the Israeli and Palestinian communities, and all are valued members of our WPS community. We are working to be responsive to their needs during this difficult time.
As is so often the case during a time of crisis, our students are rarely of one mind in their response to these events and our goal is to meet students wherever they are. To this end, I want to thank our staff and building leaders who have been terrific in providing that differentiated support, checking in with individual students, and/or engaging in class discussions about the present situation. We will continue to focus on this core education mission in the days ahead.
We also thank our parents and caregivers, who are such important partners in our work with students. We encourage you to talk to your children about these events, give them the space to ask questions, and share how they may be feeling. Keeping these lines of dialogue open is essential. We would also ask that you remain aware of your child’s exposure to the news and social media, as the amount and nature of the coverage may cause even more stress for our students.
If you are looking for guidance in talking through these tragic events with your children in the coming days, we want to recommend the following resources:
- Talking to Children About Violence-Tips for Families and Educators (NASP)
- How to Talk to Kids About Violence, Crime, and War | Common Sense Media
- Supporting Youth Affected by the Violence in Israel and Gaza: Tips for Families and Educators
Finally, we have become aware of rumors about a variety of possible threats tomorrow to the region, related to the events of the Middle East. We remain in close contact with the Wellesley Police Department, who in turn, are in close contact with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies. They have confirmed that, as of now, there are no credible threats to the Boston area or our school community. Regardless, the Wellesley Police Department is maintaining a heightened state of awareness and will continue to prioritize school safety.
Thank you all for your continued support and commitment to our school community.
Dr. David Lussier
Superintendent of Schools