Catholic School Superintendent’s Letter to the School Community

October 10, 2002

Dear Parents, Students and School Staff:

At Masses this weekend, Cardinal McCarrick advised us all to “be not afraid.” He asked us to trust Our Lord and to know that Jesus is with us always. He was referring to our shared fear and anxiety as we continue to deal with the random shootings in our community this past week.

It is hard not to be afraid. We love our children and we are concerned about keeping them safe at all times. As we trust that Our Lord is with us, we will continue to work together as a community of faith, taking steps to make sure our children are safe.

I want to let you know what steps were taken by the Catholic Schools Office and by our schools this past week for the safety of our children and our staff. As you know, soon after the shootings occurred, authorities asked schools in the affected counties to activate emergency procedures to ensure children’s safety. After consultation with the police and the public schools, the Catholic Schools Office communicated guidelines to our schools, directing them to follow their school crisis plan, to keep students inside the school building for the day and to cancel afternoon kindergarten and afternoon special events. The Archdiocese’s communications office kept media outlets updated as events unfolded. Our principals, teachers and staff responded professionally and effectively in these situations, and I want to thank them for all they have done to keep the safety of our children their first priority.

As Cardinal McCarrick said, we need not be afraid. We need to place our trust in God and continue to work to make sure our children are safe in our Catholic schools and in our community. We must move forward and continue to lead our lives with the faith and trust that is so important to our Catholic beliefs. Thank you for your cooperation and support during this time. Let us all pray together for peace in our community.

Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Contact:
Jennifer Reed or Susan Gibbs
Office of Communications
301-853-4515
[email protected]