SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Teachers never know what role they might have to play in a given day, from providing safety to their students to watching out for their mental health, the president of the San Diego Education Association said Friday in reference to the shootings at a Connecticut elementary school.
The gunfire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 students and six adult victims. The shooter also died.
"Teachers, their roles don't stop as (an instructor),'' Bill Freeman said. "Kids look to teachers as parents in some cases, counselors in some cases; and teachers take those roles on because they really know these kids.''
The teachers union boss said the San Diego Unified School District is well-prepared for an emergency.
"Let's pray you never have to use them, but we're prepared to execute emergency procedures for whatever might occur,'' Freeman said. He said his heart went out to the families of the victims, and predicted it could take years for the community to recover.
Superintendent Bill Kowba issued a statement to assure parents and the community that SDUSD would continue to protect its students and give them a sense of safety and well-being as they coped to understand the tragedy in Connecticut.
"Unfortunately in our society, there are no absolute safe havens from senseless acts of violence,'' Kowba said. "But our schools are safe environments where our students grow and learn each school day under the guidance of dedicated and caring teachers and school staff.''
He said all SDUSD schools had safety plans that covered contingencies, which district officials frequently review. District staff members were trained to ensure students' safety, Kowba said.
The district's police department also monitors campus safety, and school police along with school staff would have a heightened awareness of security issues during this time, Kowba said.
Counselors and crisis response teams would also be available to provide guidance to principals in the coming days to support students' emotional needs.
Counseling professionals recommended parents encourage their children to talk about their thoughts and feelings related to the incident, reassure them of their own health and safety and to limit their television viewing since the tragedy would receive extensive coverage, Kowba said.
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Randy Ward said the education system has an unspoken agreement with parents to keep their children safe and send them home a little smarter.
"All of us who work with children take our responsibility to keep them safe very seriously,'' Ward said. "It's at the heart and soul of everything we do. You can't educate children without them being safe. As this morning's
incident shows, sometimes, in spite of our best intentions, evil forces upend our unspoken agreement.''
Ward encouraged parents to speak with their children about the importance of alerting the proper authorities if they see or hear something suspicious on or near their campuses.
He said local school administrators will review safety plans and, along with counselors, discuss the incident with students and answer their questions.
A woman was transported to the hospital Sunday after being bitten by a rattlesnake on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, according to a spokesperson for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
There was a special reunion in La Jolla on Sunday with surf dog Ricochet jumping on a surfboard with quadriplegic surfer Patrick Ivison. Ivison surfed with Ricochet 10 years ago and they got to chance the ride the waves together once again.
Weekend temperatures were mild at 0-7 degrees above average. Mountain and deserts humidity will decrease through Monday as high pressure moves over Southern California.
The investigation continues into the tragic killing of a pregnant mother and her two young daughters in Colorado. The girls' father remains behind bars accused in their deaths.
At least two children had to be hospitalized Sunday as a result of a major crash that blocked multiple lanes of Interstate 8 in El Cajon.
On Saturday, the community of Alpine turned out to help the victims of the devastating West Fire. Dozens packed the Alpine Community Center for a special fundraiser hosted by News 8’s Shawn Styles.
A suspected drunken motorist in a Mercedes Benz on Sunday suffered "numerous serious facial injuries" in the Skyline community of San Diego when he crashed his vehicle into a house, which sustained minor damage, a police officer said.
Military officials on Saturday identified the San Diego- based Marine at the center of a search in the seas southeast of the Philippines that was called off earlier this week.
As the heatwave continues to torment people, shockingly high electricity bills seem to be an added annoyance this summer.