the Superintendent’s Seat
Roles And Possibilities For
Dr. Carole G. Hankin with
Randi T. Sachs
September 11, when our nation was devastated by the sudden attack
by terrorists, our schools were in session. It has been over 50
years since we experienced such an assault on our country and
the safety of our children was paramount in the minds of every
teacher and administrator in our schools. We locked our buildings,
cancelled outdoors and after school activities, and set up an
alternative care situation for elementary school students whose
parents might not be able to come home. PTA volunteers called
homes to ensure that parent or authorized adults would meet their
children at their buses. Many teachers, administrators, and staff
in Syosset volunteered to stay and help with any children who
needed supervision. Their concern was genuine and I want to thank
them here for their unselfish response. Parents were permitted
to take their children out of school if they came for them personally,
and children were given the use of telephones to call home. Our
school psychologists and guidance counselors were immediately
available for counseling both students and staff, and even now
they continue to provide counsel.
Now, a month later, we are feeling increased responsibility for
our students. We’ve gone over all that we’ve done and decided
to add to our stock of emergency situation supplies. Our district
has purchased additional flashlights, batteries, radios, a satellite
telephone, sleeping bags, bottled water, and snacks.
Our students have seen and heard of countless acts of bravery
and heroism. In school, students were encouraged to talk about
their feelings and their apprehensions and fears. They’ve written
letters of praise and thanks to firefighters, police, and emergency
workers. They’ve created drawings that express more than words
can say about the effect that the September 11 attack has had
upon them. And they’ve participated in fund raising and collection
efforts to help the victims and the rescue workers at Ground Zero.
They’ve shown true compassion for those who were directly harmed.
Today, more than a month since the terrorist attack, schools have
become even more important for our students. They are a safe haven
where we can discuss what is happening, talk about our feelings,
and find comfort and help when we need it. Equally as important,
as students continue to learn and study their academic subjects,
their music, and art, they are being taught to prepare for a brighter
Hankin is the Superintendent of the Syosset Schools in Long Island,
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
(212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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