On the sixth anniversary of a mass school shooting there, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was evacuated in response to a phoned-in bomb threat Friday.
“Due to the sensitivity around the school,” the district opted to dismiss early, First Selectman Daniel Rosenthal told the Newtown Bee.
“There is no shortage of crazy, cruel people in the world, unfortunately,” Rosenthal told the paper.
Sandy Hook Elementary School became the site of the nation’s largest K-12 school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman shot his way into the building, killing 20 young children and six adults. The shooting catalyzed conversations about school safety at the local, state, and federal levels—conversations that have started anew in the wake of large school shootings in Santa Fe, Texas and Parkland, Fla., in 2018.
The town of Newtown has since demolished the former Sandy Hook building, creating a new school that was designed to be safe and inviting for students.
While most schools will never face a shooting—and even fewer will face a random, rampage-style attack like the one that happened in Newtown—threats of bombs and shootings are far more common.
Many of those threats are not connected to credible attack plans, but they are still distruptive and frightening, especially in a time of heightened concern about school safety, the Educator’s School Safety Network has told me. The small school safety consulting organization tracks media reports of threats and school attacks. By the end of the 2017-18 year, there were at least 3,378 threats of violence in K-12 schools, the organization found. That’s a 62 percent increase over the previous year’s total.
All Sandy Hook students were safe Friday as police investigated the threat, the district said in a statement.
Photo: A makeshift memorial studded with crosses representing the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting stands outside of a home in Newtown, Conn., in 2013. -Robert F. Bukaty/AP-File
Related reading on the Newtown shootings and school safety:
- A Year Later, Newtown Tragedy Yields Little Policy Change
- Newtown Debates Letter Asking Trump to Denounce Sandy Hook ‘Truthers’
- Sandy Hook Panel: Schools Must Address Mental Health, Social, Emotional Issues
- School Shootings: Sandy Hook Promise Ad Shares Warning Signs for Gun Violence
- Sandy Hook Shooter’s Needs Went Unmet by Schools and Parents, Report Concludes
- Senator Ends 15-Hour Push for Tighter Gun Laws With Story of Newtown Teacher
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.