Message from the Superintendent May 25 2022

May 25, 2022

Dear Spackenkill Community,

By now, you have heard about the tragic event in Texas yesterday, a school shooting that has taken many innocent lives. I am sorry to be writing to you under these circumstances. This terrible incident recalls the horrors of the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting some 10 years ago. Shock. Anger. Horror. Fear. We are all feeling strong emotions in response to this event. Words cannot convey the depths of sorrow and heartache we feel for the victims. We share their grief. The magnitude of this tragedy is vast, and it has forever altered many people’s lives in unimaginable ways.

There is much talk in the media about how these incidents have become commonplace and people are increasingly desensitized to their details. However, I know that our community cares deeply and demonstrates compassion. At the same time, we want to ensure that the safety and security of our students and staff always comes first. Please know that our District Safety Committee and our individual school Safety Committees remain vigilant and regularly review our current protocols in partnership with local law enforcement, including our School Resource Officer, Steve Doughty. As always, we continue to work with our law enforcement partners on reviewing our current practices, identifying improvement opportunities, training our staff, and maintaining strong emergency response procedures.  Our school social workers and counseling staff are deeply connected to the students they serve and empower them with mental health resources to keep them safe, ensuring that any student who is experiencing anxiety or depression gets the help they need.

Today, Assistant Superintendents Lori Mulford and John Farrell and I visited our school buildings, along with SRO Doughty, and were happy to see that students and staff seemed well and relaxed. As I wrote to our staff last night, we need to all stay attuned to our feelings and those of our students as we once again navigate difficult times. As easy as it is to despair, our collective strength will see us through and, hopefully, point us to a path to a better future. Please feel free to contact me, your building principal, or your school counselor/social worker with any questions or concerns.

The following resources could be helpful in speaking with your children about tragic events in our communities:

Talking to Children About Terrorist Attacks and School Community Shootings in the News

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

Responding to Tragedy: Resources for Educators and Parents

15 Tips for Talking with Children About Violence


Paul M. Fanuele, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools