Talking with students about violence in the community

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The following message is from City School District of Albany Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams:

Dear Families:

I am reaching out to you regarding the recent violence in our community. I know these events have affected individuals in the City School District of Albany community. Sadly, our staff and students have been connected to the victims in some cases.  

Your child may hear about community violence when it occurs, or express concerns they may have heard from others. Please know that we are here to support your child and the entire school community. We have clinical support team members to help process your child’s questions and concerns if your child wishes to access assistance.  

If teachers become aware of a student in need of additional support, we will immediately give the student access to a student support team member. We will contact the parent or guardian if a student requests support or is referred for assistance.

Below is some information about how your child may respond at home and what you can do to help.

Common reactions from children who experience violence or loss

  • Physiological reactions – headaches, stomachaches, muscle tremors, fatigue, sweating, sleep/appetite disturbance
  • Emotional reactions – shock, denial, fear, sadness, anxiety
  • Behavioral reactions – restlessness, disorganization, rebellious at home or school, loss of interest in peer and social activities
  • Issues at school – fighting, withdrawal, attention-seeking, poor concentration 

How you can help

  • Stay calm and stabilize your own emotions
  • Avoid spreading rumors. Provide facts and be selective of appropriate information in the news reports for sharing with your child
  • Let your child feel accepted and supported. Respect their feelings; they are genuine even if they are different from yours. Never deny or mock a child’s fears and worries
  • Listen to your child’s concerns and needs. Do not forbid the child to mention or talk about the incident. Suppressing feelings may have negative effects in the long run
  • Offer opportunities for your child to share what they fear and worry about most. Discuss arrangements that will make them feel more secure. Some examples might be keeping them company or letting them go to bed with the light on
  • Encourage your child to express their feelings in different ways such as storytelling, drawing and doing crafts
  • Express words of comfort but do not be anxious to give advice. Excessive concern can result in additional stress
  • Encourage your child to continue with normal routines as much as possible
  • Arrange activities that are good for the body and mind, such as listening to music or doing sports. This will encourage your child to focus on other matters
  • Observe and monitor your child’s progress. Talk to your school about follow-up support if necessary 

Should you want more information about talking to children about violence, you can access the following resources:

Additionally, anyone that knows about any violence in our area is encouraged to share information with the appropriate and responsible parties. One such avenue is by contacting Capital Region Crime Stoppers. You may do so by calling their hotline at (833)-ALB-TIPS. You also can download their app or visit to submit information.

We are here to help and support members of our school community in any way we can. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact our Pupil Personnel Services Department at (518) 475-6130.