South Orangetown School District Superintendent Dr. Ken Mitchell sent out a letter to the community responding to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT Friday.
The full content of the letter is as follows:
I am sure that every member of the SOCSD community will join me in offering our thoughts and prayers to the innocent victims of the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. This is perhaps one of the most heinous acts of school violence that a community has had to endure and that Americans have ever witnessed.
When such events of this magnitude occur, we will simultaneously sympathize with the loved ones of those killed or harmed and seek assurances that all precautions are being made to protect our most precious children.
I am writing tonight to share how South Orangetown will attempt to support our children when they return on Monday and work with parents in doing so.
After receiving news about the events in Newtown, our school principals began the work of discussing ways to respond to the concerns and questions of children when they return on Monday. Our administration and support staff will prepare faculty before classes next week. Parents will be receiving materials that will help them in dealing with the potential anxiety, fear, and questions that young children may have about this horrific event.
As you know, our district has restrictive access to every building and is staffed with security guards, some of whom are experienced retired police officers trained to be observant and very knowledgeable when it comes to assessing body language or suspicious behavior. We have a set of protocols in place to ensure that only those who belong in schools are allowed to enter. While no school is impenetrable, we make every effort to protect the security of each building.
Based on current information, today’s events may represent the most devastating school shooting in our nation’s history. While no words can express our profound sympathy and sadness, we are reminded of the vulnerability and preciousness of our children. I know that each of you will take yours in your arms tonight and hold them a little tighter than usual.