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INFORMATIONAL LETTER: 62
POLICY CODE: JLD
TO: Superintendents of Schools
FROM: Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner
DATE: January 8, 2004
RE: Deployment of Maine Troops and Its Impact on Maine Students
As you know, the State of Maine and many of its troops have received notice that their service is needed in the Middle East region and they are preparing for deployments; some troops have already been deployed while others will be leaving shortly. With this newest round of deployments affecting several communities around the State, it is important for us all to remember that the children of Maine, especially those with loved ones preparing for mobilization, will need our assistance as they cope with these very uncertain times and the fact that their relative, neighbor, or friend may be placed in harm’s way.
It is important that we as educators acknowledge the additional emotional and physical stress that some of our students may face in the coming months. It is only natural that questions will arise and that discussions will ensue around the topic of war and the deployment of additional troops. With that in mind, I have listed below a few terrific resources that I would like to share with you.
The first are a set of web addresses which were sent to you last spring as part of Informational Letter #54 dated March 21, 2003. The Coordinated School Health Program website www.mainecshp.com has posted three resources from the National Mental Health Association that provide guidance for assisting children, families, college students, and colleagues in the workplace in coping with war and terrorism. In addition, the National Mental Health Association has a “Returning Home From War: Tips for the Troops” link on their website at www.nmha.org, and the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder website http://www.ncptsd.org/facts/disasters/fs_children_disaster.html has a fact sheet on “Terrorist Attacks and Children” which may prove helpful.
The next resource is a document that was developed for the School Counselors Clipboard by Shelley Reed of the Department of Education. This resource provides tips for school counselors as well as tips and suggestions provided by the Brunswick Naval Fleet Center for families and spouses. You can access this document at http://www.maine.gov/education/edletrs/2004/ilet/ilet62attachment.htm
Other valuable resources are provided directly to military families through the Maine National Guard Offices. Each group of troops deployed has a point of contact who serves as a valuable resource for their family. Additionally, the National Guard Bureau Family Program Office has designed two websites specifically for Guard families and their children. The link to the children’s site is http://www.guardfamilyyouth.org/ and the link to the family site is http://www.guardfamily.org/. Both of these sites will help to provide both students and their families with information and can help to answer some of the questions that may arise around deployment and what that means for them.
Ensuring the educational, physical, and emotional well-being of all of Maine’s students is our most important job and I’d like to thank each of you for the guidance and support that you continue to provide to the students and families of Maine.