The following message was emailed to Lakeside families this afternoon.
Dear parents and guardians of Lakeside students,
Today is a day we hope to never experience, and I know it will take some time for us to process all that has happened. As I grapple with my own sadness and frustration with this tragic event, I also feel thankful for the many ways our staff and faculty took care of our school community today. Now, I encourage all of us to keep the students, employees, and families of Ingraham High School in our thoughts.
Community safety is a top priority at Lakeside. When we learned that there was a shooting at Ingraham High School, we were able to quickly implement Lakeside’s emergency management plan and lock down both our campuses. Our faculty and staff did a great job, and our students were phenomenal: calm, listening carefully, and supportive of each other. When the lockdown was lifted, we were all able to gather together. We wanted to ensure that members of our community felt connected and safe, that they understood what had happened, and that they had access to all the support systems that are in place, including counselors, teachers, advisors, families, and each other.
Parents and guardians: I want to thank all of you for your support during this time. Thank you for remaining calm and trusting the school when we were in lockdown, and for working in partnership with school staff during afternoon pick-ups. The events of today underscore the importance of all of us being able to get in touch with each other — if you haven’t already done so, please follow the instructions in this article to sign up for emergency alerts by email and text.
Every person will have a different emotional reaction to what happened today. The physical proximity of this event makes it especially challenging to process our emotions and reactions. Lakeside’s counselors, Meredith Sjoberg, Serena Swanson, Tori Force, and Damon Buren are available for students; Jamie Asaka and Latasia Lanier in our family support team are available for parents and guardians. If your student’s reaction to today’s events seems to be confusing, long-lasting, or difficult to manage, please don’t hesitate to call. Our counselors’ contact information is included below.
Our counselors have put together some things to keep in mind when navigating difficult conversations with students:
- Take care of yourself. Events like this are often terrifying for parents. Make sure to find support for yourself so you feel prepared to talk and help your child process what they are feeling.
- Make sure there is time to talk. These conversations are most helpful when there is space for some silence and reflection. It is also a process. Continue to check in with your child as they absorb the news.
- Social media can provide an opportunity for kids to connect. However, there is a risk that it could feel overwhelming or upsetting. Use your judgment about checking in with your child or limiting their social media use, particularly with younger kids.
- Everyone will express reactions differently. It can be helpful to have suggestions in mind for how to help your child process these reactions; for example, talking to someone, engaging in traditions of their faith, connecting with friends and family, spending time in nature, or expressing themselves creatively.
- Keep in mind that events like this can stir up memories of difficult experiences that your child may have had. This might occur even if the experience in the past is unrelated to a school shooting. Some kids may feel angry and helpless that these shootings continue. Affirm their feelings and remind them that sharing their feelings with you or a school counselor will be helpful to them.
Here are some additional resources that may be helpful:
- “How to talk to kids about school shootings” from Common Sense Media.
- “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers” from the National Association of School Psychologists.
- A resource about dealing with anxiety over school shootings, from the Child Mind Institute.
- “An Age by Age Guide to Talking to Children About Mass Shootings” from the New York Times.
- “Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting” from the American Psychological Association.
In these moments, we all need to just push pause, turn to our loved ones, and hug them. We need to tell them that we love them and that we are grateful to have them in our lives. This assurance is essential for every member of our school community; but it’s especially important for our kids. Let’s come together and remember that love — especially when life challenges it so deeply.
Head of School
Upper School counselors
Meredith Sjoberg at 206-440-2749
Serena Swanson at 206-440-2835
Damon Buren at 206-440-2934
Middle School counselors
Tori Force at 206-440-2769
Damon Buren at 206-440-2934
Family support staff
Jamie Asaka at 206-440-2901
Latasia Lanier at 206-440-2887