Principal Waterman offers reflection on recent events


Brandt Siegfried, Online Editor

At the beginning of third period, LT Principal Brian Waterman offered a reflection on the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The text is available on the LT website and in today’s District 204 email blast. The Pulse section of the March 2 issue of LION will highlight issues surrounding school shootings and safety at LT.

Dear LT Families,

Today, many of us are reflecting on the role we serve as students, parents, educators and individuals as we attempt to process the latest school shooting in our nation. In the wake of events such as these, we use terms like senseless, thoughts, prayers, and tragedy in our attempt to explain the unexplainable. We seek answers for why it happens, how we can prevent it from happening again, and how best to support those most closely affected.

From a practical perspective, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL tragedy reminds us of the importance of regularly reviewing, updating, and familiarizing ourselves with our emergency planning procedures. Emergency plans in schools are complex documents, developed with police and fire personnel input and designed to provide guidance for various types of school emergencies. I’ve encouraged our staff to not only review these procedures on a general level, but also think about how these procedures are implemented within each specific classroom, office area and environment in which they work each day. Emergency procedures are critical components of maintaining safe learning environment.

It is important to note the integral role that all educators and parents play in building a positive relationship with each student. In the past 2+ years, I have discussed school safety with a variety of individuals, including students working on school projects, parents inquiring about specific measures within our school, and reporters looking for insight into this topic. I consistently mention that the most effective strategy we have is our ability to build positive relationships and connections with individual students. Regardless of the specific political side one takes in this issue (gun control legislation, mental health and wellness support, school security funding, etc.), it is difficult to argue with the power of an adult role model connecting with an individual student in a meaningful way. As educators, we have numerous daily interactions with our colleagues and students, and each of one of these interactions can either build confidence and develop self-worth in those around us or destroy hope and create skepticism in others. Don’t underestimate the impact we ALL have in maintaining a positive learning community. It is important we listen to what others (friends, family members, colleagues, and peers) are saying and doing. If you hear or see something that is concerning or causes you to question, please share that information with a trusted adult at LTHS. Through our interactions, we build confidence, create hope, instill self-worth and influence our school culture…one person at a time.

Of course, we learn in our classrooms, confront our struggles, and celebrate our successes this week with a heavy heart as we keep in our minds all those affected by the tragedies that have occurred in our nation’s schools.

Thanks for reading, take care of yourself and others, and enjoy the weekend.

Dr. Brian Waterman