Dear ICS Parents: This is to inform you officially of a tragedy that, while it did not happen on our campuses, does affect our Community. Shortly before our Thanksgiving break, the older brother of an ICS 4th grader was taken into custody after the shooting death of a fellow high school student.
[Today's blog is a letter from principal Laurent Ditmann, sent Monday to International Community School parents, and reprinted here with his permission.]Little is known of the specifics of the case; yet many ICS students of all grades know of and will keep talking about the shooting, and possibly discuss it with you. Our response to the situation was coordinated through the Thanksgiving weekend, during which many community member reached out to both families. This morning, and with the assistance of DCSS [DeKalb County School System] social workers, Family Outreach Coordinator Peg Geronimo, Assistant Principal Tahisha Edwards, Counselor Jennifer Greene, and I gave assembled 4th graders some suggestions for dealing with the emotional aspects of the situation. The message we conveyed was that while community life sometimes turns ugly, our response to this ugliness is more community building, more care for each other, and more support for those in need. If need be, we will offer individual counseling and organize small group presentations to convey these ideas.
This is, as I understand, an unprecedented event at ICS, and I feel that under the circumstances, the Community reacted in a rational and supportive way. In such a context, however, rumors spread quickly and without pity. It is, therefore, crucial to remind the entire community that ICS provides a safe, caring, and supportive environment to all. We will continue to do our utmost to create a space where learning and community building can take place tomorrow as they did last week before all this happened.
Should you have any question about this, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Laurent Ditmann, Ph.D.