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MONTREAL, DECEMBER 17, 2012-  English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Director General Robert Stocker has sent a message to school principals in the wake of the  recent school shooting which took place in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Principals may find that members of their respective communities, students, staff, and parents, have been impacted by this tragic event, particularly in view of its widespread media Coverage,” Mr Stocker said in his message. “Tragedies of this nature hit hard. It is difficult to understand and accept that there are events which cannot be controlled or predicted and which are not easily ‘fixed,’ resolved, prevented or understood.”

The fact that young children and school staff members were killed in their own school places an
additional weight on this incomprehensible act of violence. “It is important to understand that following a traumatic event, even if it happens to someone else,” Mr. Stocker notes. “It is normal to feel it personally, Although each person reacts differently according to his/her own personality and life experiences, there is a wide range of normal feelings and reactions that are generated by these horrific events. Those who are particularly vulnerable because of previous experiences of trauma or loss may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Mr. Stocker goes on to say how important it is  for principals to be aware of the common reactions to trauma/stress and to alert their staff and community as a whole, in order to help them cope with the experience and to understand and provide support to those individuals who may be more deeply affected.

Principals have been provided with guidelines for staff, students and parents. They have been encouraged to distribute these documents to their school communities in the manner which they deem appropriate. If students and/or staff seem to require particular attention, principals are being told to contact the professionals (i.e. school psychologist, guidance counselor, spiritual community animator, social worker and/or nurse) in their school community. 

EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini notes that the Student Services Department has been in touch with the school community in Newtown and offered the support of its Trauma Team.



Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213