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Newtown: A Message to Our School Community

   By Charles_Sampson - Posted on 16 December 2012

We are all aware of the horrific events that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday. These events remind all of us of the frailty and preciousness of human life, and how easily one disturbed individual can place others at risk.

Across the country, thousands of schools will be moving forward on Monday morning. We will, as well. Our counselors and guidance staff are on full alert to assist students in need of help. We will move forward as one community.

In many ways, the world before us has changed. Sadly, we have seen this before. We move forward much more cognizant of the fact that WE are the first line of defense to ensuring safe schools. We reiterate the importance of reporting unusual activity immediately. We must close all exterior doors behind us and be vigilant in signing in and out. We must practice our security drills with the utmost purpose. And, most importantly, we must lay this foundation of expectations with our students.

Tomorrow, principals will call their staffs together to review these points. Please be attuned to your students and remember that they are too young to appreciate the impact of Columbine. They are likely to struggle with how to process this tragedy. Be careful in your conversations and flexible with students who may need additional assistance. We have wonderful counselors and CST members who can help alleviate the anxiety, fear and sense of helplessness that may be gripping some of our children tomorrow and in the coming days.

Finally, I want to assure all of you that your safety is of paramount importance to me, and is not something I will skirt in any manner. I have been in constant contact with all building principals and with Debbie Gates Kane this weekend to gather input regarding areas of concern. I cannot thank the FREA enough for joining me in putting our and our students' collective safety first as we move forward.

While we will keep those in Newtown close to our hearts, we have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Life is precious. We must celebrate that.

I have seen our community come together, and remain amazed at your resiliency and your ability to put children first in all that you do.

I am proud to call FRHSD my home.

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