July 25, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians of the Suffield Public Schools:
We are all deeply saddened by the tragic bicycle accident that claimed the life of our seventh grade student Francis Anthony Alamo. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very challenging time. I am writing to share with you our schedule for crisis counseling as well as some resources for parents that might be helpful in dealing with the grief and loss that we are all experiencing. Please be assured that the public school system has the resources and resolve to assist our students, parents, staff, and entire community to face this challenge successfully and begin a healing process.
Counseling services will be provided over this weekend and throughout next week by our school psychologists, counselors, social workers and teachers. Specifically, students and parents can come to the Suffield Middle School Library Media Center on Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and on Sunday, July 27, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Beginning Monday, July 28, 2014 through Friday, August 1, 2014 counseling will be available from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Middle School.
Helping children deal with a sudden loss of a friend, classmate, or school mate requires our understanding and modeling. Every family has to deal with death in its own way depending on the relationship to the individual, cultural traditions, religious beliefs, and the developmental needs of the child. In an effort to assist you in speaking with your child about this loss, and to help you gauge your child’s level of sadness or need, we recommend two articles: Death and Grief in the Family: Tips for Parents and Building Resiliency: Helping Children Learn to Weather Tough Times. Our counselors are also available to assist you if you have questions or concerns. If you are unable to attend one of our grief counseling sessions over the week, please feel free to call my office at 860-668-3394 or the Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Jim Collin at 860-668- 3806 and we will connect you with one of our psychologists, counselors, or the district social worker.
I wish you and your family a safe and restful weekend as we work together to deal with this terrible loss.
Karen Baldwin, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools