Kia ora St Anthony's School whānau
I write with reference to the school’s response to Friday’s events in Christchurch. I know that you will all stand with me in sending our prayers and condolences to all those who have been affected by this terrible act of violence, those who have lost loved ones, those who are injured or those whose whānau are injured. We also send our heartfelt gratitude to the emergency and support services who will be working tirelessly with the victims and their families over this terrible time.
I would also like to acknowledge the work of my principal, teacher and support staff colleagues in Christchurch, who once again, stood staunchly alongside their precious students in a time of extreme fear. Many of them will be working with the victims and families of victims once their children return to school. Some of them will have colleagues working with them whose families have been directly affected by this tragedy. Kia kaha to all those people.
Whilst we hope and pray that this event in Christchurch is an isolated occurrence, I would like to inform you a little more about our school’s already established lockdown procedures. Should the school ever be placed into lockdown, we will endeavour to communicate with you via text and email to ensure you are informed of the ongoing situation. We will communicate directly with staff to keep them apprised of the situation and also liaise directly with the Police. In the case of a lockdown lasting longer than a few minutes, we have buckets in the classrooms, which will enable children to go to the toilet if needed. We also have access to water.
We ask that parents DO NOT come to school in a lockdown situation, as this can place you in danger, and we are unable to let you into any part of the school. Staff and children can only be released by myself or Denise Johnson, our DP.
I have received messages from parents requesting advice around conversations with children about what has happened. Please see the links below to articles that may help you with keeping your conversations developmentally appropriate. I will be working to ensure that the staff feel equipped to deal sensitively with any questions or concerns that may arise.
On Monday, some New Zealand schools are holding assemblies and liturgies to remember the victims of the attack. We will be having a School Liturgy at 9am in Tui classroom and whānau are invited to attend. I thank Francesca von Lanthen, our DRS for planning our short time of prayer and reflection together.
Finally, as a school, we will be contacting our local mosque in Kilbirnie to express our solidarity and sorrow with them. As a faith community, it is important that we come together with our fellow New Zealanders in their and our time of need.
In the meantime, we pray.…
Eternal rest grant unto them oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
.... and for the injured and those who are affected in a myriad of other ways....
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.
With God’s blessings; Mā te Atua koe e tiaki