We are taking school (and life) one day at a time. As much as I would like to be able to say that each day will get easier, that is certainly not the case. What we have witnessed is incomprehensible and the only certainty in our recovery is that we will do it together.
While we were all tired yesterday, we are exhausted today. Some came to school hoping that we would be able to just process our feelings while others came to school hoping for structure (and perhaps distraction). Every teacher in every classroom tried hard to figure out what would be best for the students with them.
Tomorrow will be a shortened E-day (early dismissal; we will have no bells). We will observe a moment of silence at 9:30.
Counseling staff will continue to be available for students, staff, and parents throughout the day. Support centers have been set up in the side gym (students), F-wing offices (teachers), and B141 (parents). Counselors will also be monitoring classrooms and common areas to provide additional support.
Uniformed police officers will continue to patrol the interior of the building and a police cruiser will monitor traffic entering the campus. Media will not be allowed on campus.
Our students are AMAZING. Our faculty is AMAZING. Our staff is AMAZING. The support that each has shown for the other brings me to tears as much as the pain of this horrific event. To everybody who has reached out to help us in this time of need, we thank you.
Yesterday, I spoke of envisioning the future. If you have not done so already, please take a moment now to think about what you wish the future to look like. We had no control over this senseless, cruel, horrific act, but we do have absolute control over our response to it. We must have the courage to envision a future that is noble and bright.
Isolation is the enemy. Isolation is the engine of all of the destructive consequences of the pain that we are feeling. Isolation feeds fear and anger. But you can fight isolation. The response that is healthy and helpful is to weave some recognition of a good quality into every conversation with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. It helps to create a sense of safety and value that supports long-term personal and organizational health. Through this sharing you will see the AMAZING that I see among us.
In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln closed with “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom . . .” To begin to make the future that you envision closer to a reality, we all need to “highly resolve” to do something so that the children and adults of Sandy Hook Elementary did not die in vain. I will be resolving to perform three acts of kindness over the holiday break on their behalf. I ask you to do the same (you should write them down now).
I am sure that one of the thoughts that crossed your mind this week was “Will people always associate me with this horrific event when they find out I am from (or work in) Newtown?” We can choose a future now that will bring us recognition as a community that took a terrible tragedy and turned it into a movement for a better world.
Our collective strength and resilience will serve as an example to the rest of the world. Be strong, Newtown.