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Letter to Families Nov. 4, 2021

To all our Blazing Trails families,


As many of our Pathfinder families are already aware, a disturbing incident occurred on the grounds on Friday October 29th. This has prompted many emails, phone calls and conversations about the safety of all people in our community, regardless of race, ethnicity or ethnic background.


Blazing Trails is dedicated to supporting the children and families in our community. We have always maintained a “no play violence” policy but have noticed an increase in this type of play over the recent months. Due to the events of last week, our staff feels it’s important to remind/inform parents, guardians and families that we take these incidents seriously.


The children in our care are fully aware of what we consider to be play violence. In a large group meeting, they were able to list the following as being unacceptable:


· Shaping their hands like weapons

· Drawing pictures of weapons, violence or gore

· Talking in detail about violent games, movies or tv shows

· Building weapons out of other materials such as legos, k’nex or paper

· Enacting fighting during recess, choice time, etc.

· Verbal or written threats to others

· Using/pretending sticks, k’nex and other materials as/are weapons


Blazing Trails should be a safe place for every child. We don’t always know the traumas or experiences of others and it is insensitive to ignore the possibility that some in our care have experienced first hand the violence that others portray. As a result, Blazing Trails staff is going to be hyper-vigilant around this topic. Any child that is displaying violent behaviors, whether in earnest or play, will be faced with a variety of possible consequences. These include, but are not limited to:


1. Being a teacher’s shadow

2. Loss of choices

3. Time in the office away from friends and peers

4. Phone calls to parents for immediate pick up


Those children that perpetually disregard these rules and expectations may face harsher consequences. Children who continuously put their hands on others in harmful ways, use violent talk or constantly build weapons in various forms, may be put on a Blazing Trails contract, detailing our expectations and what will happen when they aren’t followed. Disregarding the outlines of the contract could lead to suspension or expulsion from Blazing Trails.


Please know that our staff is dedicated to ensuring the comfort and safety of all our children and families. We are asking for our BT community to support us in our efforts to make Blazing Trails a safe, violence free zone for everyone. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact our office.



Rita Garton

Director

Blazing Trails ritagarton@blazingtrails.org