Webster district-wide letter addresses tragedy
[Editor note: Webster Superintendent of Schools Barbara Malkas knew Dawn Hochsprung at Sage College of Albany. These are her remarks. Her letter to the district follows.]
Dawn Hochsprung, Principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, was a graduate student at the Sage College of Albany Educational Leadership Doctoral Program. I (Superintendent Malkas) was her "Executive Coach" in the program. She was an amazing principal that worked tirelessly on behalf of her students, and she was always concerned that she would not be able to juggle the demands of her job, graduate school, and family life (her daughter is scheduled to be married at her home this June).
It was my job to encourage her, to read her papers and give her feedback, and above all be a sounding board to her concerns. I so enjoyed working with her and liked that she referred to me as her “life coach”. In her final moments, she pressed the intercom so that the school would be alerted to the presence of the intruder. Her act of courage and thoughtfulness saved lives from an already tragic death toll for the community in Newtown, CT. Please pray for her, her family, the other victims and their families.
The following letter will be posted to the district website:
Dear Students, Staff, Parents/Guardians, and Community Partners,
The recent events have affected all of us, and they could lead us to conclude that the world we live in today is fear filled, requiring constant vigilance. As more information is released to the media, we may learn more about the perpetrators in these tragic events, but we will never know enough that will help us to understand what motivates such evil in the hearts of man. When children are the target of those filled with evil, it is beyond our ability comprehend. The innocent deserve our protection, and there are none more innocent than children.
On Thursday, December 6th, 2012, a community partnership of administration from Webster Public Schools, the Police Department, Fire and Rescue, and the Department of Public Health, met to revise the medical and emergency response plans.
While the school community will reflect on how to do more to protect our children and continue to work closely with our community partners to revise our plans, we will also want to keep in mind that schools are meant to be places of learning and not be reactive to fear. Evil will win if we allow these events to steal the childhood of our children.
In this season of light, we celebrate the innocence of the child and allow for dreaming big dreams and the beliefs in goodness, love, and peace on earth. We must preserve these values for our children. As a community we must work together to insure that childhood remains an opportunity to believe that this world is a safe place to be and where all things are possible.
May you know peace
May your heart remain open
May you feel safe, honored, and respected at this time
May you see the light of your own true nature, and see that as good
May you feel love, compassion, and human kindness
May you feel whole in body, mind, and spirit
Have a wondrous holiday season.
Barbara Malkas, Ed.D.