HELENA — Helena Public Schools sent out an email to families the morning after the tragedy to alert them of continuing operations while also offering suggestions on best practices for talking with students about such events.
The letter went on to say it is important to continue on with normal routines while also making room to talk about the subject of mass shootings. They also encouraged limiting and monitoring screen time and calmly working alongside your child during this difficult time.
“You know, I think you start the discussion, but, not, you're not in control of the discussion. You know, ask them how they feel. Ask them where they're at, what they're feeling. Those are important topics for kids to be able to express, not just here. And so, I think that's a sentence starter, is just to sit down, away from a TV, away from a pad and talk to your kids,” says Rex Weltz, Superintendent of Helena Public Schools.
All ten elementary schools across the district received significant security upgrades several years ago.
In 2017, voters approved a $63 million bond; $8 million of which paid for those security upgrades.
Those upgrades included double-door entrance vestibules, keyless entry systems, technology that allows for full school lockdowns from central locations, and clocks that can double as message boards and intercoms.
Superintendent Rex Weltz's message to families also noted that the district is collaborating with parents, law enforcement, and mental health providers to implement safety and violence prevention measures at all district schools.
“Never do I want to be complacent. I think it's time for our safety committee to come back together and say what's working, what's not working in your buildings, given light of what just took place,” says Weltz.
Articles and links provided by Helena Public Schools on how to talk with your children about such events can be found below:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, please visit Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org); call 1-800-273-TALK; or text MT to 741-741.