Dear Parents, Whanau and Caregivers,
Thank you so much for the support you have expressed this week, following last Friday’s tragic events.
Our assembly and observation of a time of silence went very well on Monday morning. Teachers reported vastly differing levels of knowledge/understanding of the events from the children in their classes. My reference was simply that ‘something very sad had happened in Christchurch last Friday.’ Children who knew more, would have been able to fill the gaps but those who had remained unaware (particularly our very young students) were not confronted with anything that would be frightening or difficult to process. I made a link to something familiar - ANZAC Day ceremonies, where the flag flies at half mast and a silence is observed - and said that we were doing the same as a sign of respect, after singing the National Anthem.
On Tuesday I received an email from the organisation 24-7 Youthwork. Working in conjunction with the Christchurch City Council, it encouraged schools to participate in a Colour Your Day mufti event scheduled for tomorrow. I had two reservations about UHPS joining in. Firstly, at that time, there seemed to be a variety of organisations/charities accepting donations for support, the request didn’t come with any MOE endorsement, and the organisation itself seems more aligned with the adolescent age group. Secondly, it was only the day before that UHPS had acknowledged the tragedy and we had undertaken to return to normal routines thereafter. I was concerned that resurfacing things again may not be in all our learners - or families’ - best interests. Based on these reservations, I made the call that UHPS would not have a Colour Your Day mufti day on Friday 22nd March.
We now know that there is to be a nationwide 2 minute silence tomorrow. We have yet to receive (or find) any official notification of what time that will be but suggestions are that it will be at 1.40pm. If so, classes, under the guidance of their teachers, will observe this silence during what would normally be SSR time (Sustained Silent Reading time). Our flags will remain at half mast until we are directed otherwise.
If your family had hoped to use a mufti day to make a financial contribution to support those affected, please could I encourage you to do so directly to the organisation of your choice. Perhaps even more importantly, could I encourage all of us to make a tangible contribution by expressing aroha (love), acceptance and inclusion to all who live in our neighbourhoods and our streets. In words attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Kind regards, Kia kaha,