Dear GRPS Families,
This morning we awaken and prepare for a day of learning with heavy and difficult questions on our minds.
How will we explain the unexplainable, make sense of the senseless, and help our children understand what we ourselves are struggling to comprehend?
Once again, our state is in the painful spotlight of a violent national tragedy. This time it is unfolding less than 75 miles away on the campus of Michigan State University — a place of higher learning where we proudly send graduates each year to continue their education.
I’m saddened by the loss of life following the shootings at MSU and send our condolences to those most closely impacted by this tragedy. As I watch the coverage this morning, I can’t help but think of the widespread trauma this has inflicted on the other young people on campus and beyond.
It’s not at all lost on me that some of that trauma undoubtedly made its way to Grand Rapids.
Today we open our doors to our scholars and our hearts to the questions and feelings they will have about this news. Our support teams will be available to our young people struggling to process all of this and we will make time as appropriate for our school community to discuss what has happened together.
We have shared some resources on GRPS.org to help families approach these difficult conversations with their children.
The news today underscores the importance of our commitment to the holistic well-being of our scholars and the capacity and responsibility we have to care for one another.
We will work through this together.
On behalf of the Board of Education, please know that we are here for our scholars and families. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or principal if we can be of additional support.
Leadriane Roby, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
A letter from Board President, Kimberley Williams
To Our Grand Rapids Public Schools Families and Greater Community –
Today we grieve that which we cannot understand — the senseless and violent loss of life during the shootings at Michigan State University.
We are once again left with a sense of sadness, frustration, and even anger. While all of these feelings are understandable reactions to this tragedy — we implore our community to resist the sense of hopelessness.
It is hope that drives our resolve to do something about these tragedies. It is hope that ignites our mission to inspire the leaders of our future to make a difference. And it is hope that tells us that the regular cadence of mass shootings isn’t something we can ever accept as normal.
Michigan State University has been the college choice for countless Grand Rapids Public Schools scholars over the years, a number of MSU graduates use their talents to serve our children each day, and we know that there were members of the GRPS community on campus as the shots were fired Monday night.
MSU is a part of our fabric. This tragedy truly hits home.
Our commitment to our scholars is to make sure they know our schools are a safe place to ask questions, express grief, and share openly. We know that even in the pain of grief there is room for learning, space for growth, and a place for hope.
We encourage scholars and families in need of additional support to contact the staff at our schools to be connected with resources in our community.
Mrs. Kimberley Williams