February 14, 2019 will mark one year since the horrific tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School claimed the lives of 17 students and staff. Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is joining its neighbors in Broward, Palm Beach, as well as school districts across the country in honoring the lives of the victims who were lost to a school shooter.
Participating school districts will be observing a moment of silence at 10:17 a.m. on Feb. 14, to honor the lives of the 17 victims. Although the shooting at Stoneman Douglas began after 2 p.m., school districts decided on a morning observance to ensure widespread participation.
As part of M-DCPS’ “Love and Kindness Day,” schools will be hosting numerous activities geared toward every grade level with a focus on love and kindness.
Some of the activities include:
• Kindness Corner: principals are urged to create an area in their schools where teachers and staff can post positive messages about students who have demonstrated love and kindness.
• Sending Love and Kindness notes: a template has been provided to all schools, which can be printed out for students to write or draw a kind message to someone on Valentine’s Day. An example includes writing notes of appreciation to the cafeteria workers, custodians or other staff members, who don’t normally receive recognition.
• Tell someone they are special: students will be encouraged to write a message to another student they do not know that well, highlighting something special about them.
• Lunchtime Check List: students will be given a “Love and Kindness Day” checklist in which they have to check off as many acts of kindness as they can complete during their lunchtime.
• “Be Kind!” Public Service Announcement (PSA) Challenge: launched during February’s Values Matter Miami Kindness Month, schools are being encouraged to create a short PSA video on kindness and to share it on social media. Outstanding PSAs will be recognized through the District’s Values Matter Miami initiative.
Additionally, the Division of Student Services is asking teachers to stay vigilant throughout the day and remain sensitive to the fact that certain students, who have had prior trauma or loss, may be more likely to exhibit strong emotional responses. Counselors will be available to meet with students or staff who need extra support.
The two-page document “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers”
is also being distributed in schools and sent home in three languages to provide and help children cope with the anniversary of this tragedy. Additional resources are available on the Division of Student Services website at studentservices.dadeschools.net/CopingwithTragedy.asp.
The Department of Mental Health Services will also be available to offer school and community services for students and their families.