Clark and Garwood Schools Counsel Students, Address Safety Concerns in Wake of Newtown Tragedy

Both districts reached out to parents on Sunday to address concerns and share plans for responding to the tragedy.

Monday was not in easy day for educators.

As students headed to school in the wake of Friday's Newtown tragedy, administrators and faculty at Clark and Garwood schools talked to students, provided counseling and reassured parents about school safety procedures.

In Garwood, Superintendent Dr. Teresa Quigley said faculty worked hard at having a normal school day.

"A regular routine is very important to children and it can help alleviate their fears," Quigley told Patch. "As a nation and school district we will being dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy for many months to come. I am going to continue to keep parents updated via email with resources that are available to them."

Parents also received the following email from Quigley on Sunday:

"I am sure you have spent the weekend thinking about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Senseless violence makes us feel uncertain and causes anxiety. Please know that Lincoln School has lock-down drill procedures in place and our students practice lock-down drills each month. Tomorrow before our students arrive we are having a staff meeting to review the guidelines for crisis intervention and lock-down procedures. It is our priority that all our students feel safe and that they have a normal school day. Teachers will be watching for signs of students that may need support. Students who express concerns about the tragedy can speak to a staff member on an individual basis if needed. If you have concerns about your child and need assistance please call or email the school counselor, Mrs. Patricia Stott, 789-0331 ext. 2109. As we keep the staff and students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in our thoughts and prayers please know that we will continue to maintain a safe school environment for our students."

On Sunday night, Clark district parents also received an alert about the district's plan of action for Monday:

"As a way of responding to this tragedy, a faculty meeting will be occurring at each of our schools tomorrow morning before the students arrive. At each of these meetings, the principal, along with the school psychologist and/or a counselor, will be providing the teachers with guidelines as to how to address this horrific situation with the students, including, for example, how to best respond to questions and comments from students."

The district also made available school psychologists and counselors throughout the course of the day for anyone who needed to talk.

Administrators also addressed security concerns, writing "Please trust that, as always, we will be addressing safety issues on an ongoing basis as a means of making certain that our buildings are secure and that everyone continues to feel a sense of well-being in our schools."

How did you talk with your children about the Newtown tragedy? Tell us in the comments.


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