September 21, 2020
Dear SOMSD Families,
We understand that these are challenging times and we want to thank you for your continued partnership in attending to your child’s academic, physical, and social-emotional needs.
We are writing to alert you of a video that we have become aware of recently on social media. There was a completed suicide that was recorded live on Facebook in August and was reposted to TikTok and has recently been hidden inside more innocuous looking TikToks. Across the country, children and adults are accidentally coming across these videos. We encourage you to be vigilant about monitoring your child’s activity on social media and be aware that these graphic and disturbing posts are circulating. TikTok has reported its attempt to remove the video.
As adults, these events present an opportunity for open conversations on important issues that confront our students. As the use of the internet increases for learning purposes, we remind you to take an active role in monitoring your child’s online activity including social media, and to regularly talk about internet safety as a family.
School staff are here to support your child. If you are concerned about your child’s well being please contact your child’s school – the guidance and social work staff are available to support your child. For additional support and referrals please use the SOMSD Care Line – 973 762 5600 Ext 1855. We’re here for you and can connect you with resources, supports, and community partners.
We also encourage you to attend the Parenting Center Speaker Series WebEx, “Social Media During the Pandemic,” taking place on October 8, 2020. Thank you for allowing us to educate and support your child. If you have any questions or concerns please contact your child’s school for more information.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Available 24 hours. 800-273-8255
- Preventing Youth Suicide: Brief Facts and Tips from NASP
- Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents and Educators from NASP
- SOMSD Care Line & Mental Health Resources [bit.ly/SOMSDMHResource]
South Orange & Maplewood School District
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Melody Alegria, Assistant Superintendent, Special Services
Karen Weiland, Parenting Center Supervisor & Elementary Social Worker