School Climate & Safety

State Providing Mental Health, Security Support to Newtown

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — December 17, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In the wake of the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the state of Connecticut says it has stepped in to provide mental health and security resources to the district and to provide resources to other schools in the state.

Stefan Pryor, who has been commissioner of Connecticut’s department of education since 2011, said he has been in Newtown since Friday. Though all schools in the Newtown school district were closed today, the district had an all-staff meeting today. Pryor, the district’s superintendent, and the head of the teacher unions spoke, and counselors from the state were on hand to support teachers.

On Tuesday, school will be back in session with a two-hour delay for every school in the district except for Sandy Hook. Pryor said that there would be enhanced security at each school from state troopers.

Pryor said that the education department had been working with the department of mental health and addiction services, the department of public health, and the department of children and families to provide services to Newtown. A team of 70 mental health counselors has been sent to the district to help support staff and to help them provide care to students who may be reacting to the tragedy.

The state department also worked with the state’s department of construction services to help facilitate an agreement that would put Sandy Hook’s students in an empty middle school in the nearby Monroe school district (though, he said, the agreement itself was between the two districts).

The state has pulled in David Schonfeld of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement.

Other districts in the state are receiving support, too: Teachers have been given prompts with which they can begin conversations about the event (if they decide to have those conversations—the state does not recommend one way or the other). The state department also sent a letter with recommendations for social-emotional support, school safety, contacts for helplines, and more.

Pryor said that educators in Connecticut had reached out to the Jefferson County school district in Colorado, the site of the Columbine school shooting in 1999, for support and guidance, though he did not give any specifics. Pryor is familiar with recovery from unexpected tragedies: He was the leader of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation after the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011.

“There is no comparing two events,” Pryor said. “But I’m favorably astounded by the strength of the human spirit [in Newtown]. It’s remarkable what these teachers and school leaders and school professionals are capable of doing. They’re mustering energy and capacity that might seem impossible.”

Want to keep up with school district and leadership news? Follow @district_doss on Twitter.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety What the Research Says A Hallmark of School Shooters: Long History of Social Rejection
New research finds that shooters in K-12 schools are more often "failed joiners" than loners.
5 min read
Butler County Sheriff Deputies stand on the scene at Madison Local Schools, in Madison Township in Butler County, Ohio, after a school shooting on Feb. 29, 2016.
Sheriff deputies were on the scene of a shooting at Madison Local Schools, in Butler County, Ohio, in 2016.
Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP
School Climate & Safety 4 Myths About Suspensions That Could Hurt Students Long Term
New longitudinal research shows that longer in- and out-of-school suspensions have severe consequences for students.
5 min read
Image of a student sitting at a desk in a school hallway.
School Climate & Safety Photos The Tense and Joyous Start to the 2021 School Year, in Photos
Students are headed back to school with the threat of the Delta variant looming. How is this playing out across the country? Take a look.
School Climate & Safety Former NRA President Promotes Gun Rights at Fake Graduation Set Up by Parkland Parents
A former NRA president invited to give a commencement address to a school that doesn’t exist was set up to make a point about gun violence.
Lisa J. Huriash, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
2 min read
David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, speaks during the CPAC meeting in Washington on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2010.
David Keene, the former president of the NRA, promoted gun rights in a speech he thought was a rehearsal for a commencement address to graduating students in Las Vegas. The invitation to give the speech was a set up by Parkland parents whose son was killed in the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP