October 24, 2022 – Collinsville Community Unit School District #10 Superintendent Dr. Mark B. Skertich sent the following letter to families in reaction to the tragedy at Central Visual & Performing Arts High School in St. Louis:
The tragedy that occurred at Central Visual & Performing Arts High School in St. Louis earlier today is devastating to the victims, their families and St. Louis Public Schools. A tragedy of this nature striking our own metropolitan community leaves families, students and educators unsettled about school safety.
The safety and welfare of our students is a top priority in our school district. While no plan can totally prevent violence, the district has safety initiatives in place that are reviewed by law enforcement and district officials annually. Each school conducts drills throughout the school year with students, staff and first responders.
No school district is immune to violence and our district is constantly monitoring ways to tweak security, improve incident readiness and train our staff in the latest procedures.
Out of an abundance of caution and as a sign of assurance, following today’s tragic event, our schools will have an increased police presence.
I want to take this opportunity to reiterate the need for everyone to communicate suspicions and concerns with principals, staff and/or law enforcement. No concern is too small! The goal is to always be proactive regarding risks and threats before they occur. Our staff’s ability to intercept a problem often comes from information we get from families, students and community members. Please do not hesitate to speak up.
We encourage you to call 911 if there is an imminent danger; and share non-emergency information with our principals or school counselors; or local law enforcement by calling the dispatch numbers listed on the following attachment.
Traumatic events, especially those that occur close to home, can trigger a wide range of reactions in students. I have included resources to help you and your family discuss and process what occurred today.
Please keep the CVPA High School students, staff and families in your thoughts.
Mark B. Skertich Ed.D.
Resources for Families and the Community
Non-Emergency Contact Information:
Collinsville Police: (618) 344-2131
Maryville Police: (618) 344-8899
Fairmont City Police: (618) 274-4504
Caseyville Police: (618) 344-2151
Madison County Sheriff’s Department: (618) 692-6087
St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department: (618) 277-3505
Emotional Wellbeing & Talking to Children About Tragedy:
- American Academy of Pediatrics: “Talking to Children about Tragedies and other News Events” (Click HERE for Spanish)
- National Institute of Mental Health: “Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do” (Click HERE for Spanish)
- National Association of School Psychologists: “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers” (English & Spanish printables)
- Child Development Institute: “How To Talk To Kids About Violence” (PDF/English)
- Mental Health America: “Talking To Kids About Fear And Violence” (PDF/English)
CUSD 10 Virtual Calming Room
Our social work and counseling staff maintain a website for students, staff and families to access resources, links and advice for managing emotions and feelings: Virtual Calming Room