SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Student safety is a top priority, superintendents from the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns and the Irvington Union Free School District said a day after a Newtown, Conn. school shooting.
“As I noted to our staff, it is especially difficult for people in our profession to deal with the imagery of someone entering an elementary school and going on a shooting rampage,” Tarrytown Superintendent Howard Smith said in a message to parents. “Apart from the raw emotional impact of what happened somewhere else, it leaves us anxious about our own security as well as the security of our students. I can only imagine how shaken it leaves parents who send their children to school every day trusting that they will return safely at the end of the day.”
Connecticut State Police say 27 people were killed in the attack at the Sandy Hook School on Friday. A 28th victim was found in a Newtown home, police said. Reports say the gunman was a 20-year-old named Adam Lanza, who was found dead inside the school. Police are expected to provide more details of the shooting and identify victims on Saturday.
Irvington and Tarrytown schools update emergency plans on a regular basis, but both districts are reviewing their security as a result of the shooting, officials said. Irvington Superintendent Kristopher Harrison said district officials were in contact with Mayor Brian Smith and Police Chief Michael Cerone throughout the day Friday because of the shooting.
“This collaboration will continue for the foreseeable future to ensure that our school community is as safe as possible,” he said.
Officials said counseling would be available to students who needed it and encouraged parents to talk with their children about what happened. Irvington provided resources from the National Association of School Psychologists to help parents speak about the violence.
“If you have a child who is struggling to cope with what happened, or if you yourself are struggling, please do not hesitate to contact a counselor, school psychologist or social worker at your child's school,” Smith said. “No one should feel like they have to handle this on their own. We are a caring community and will do whatever we need to do to take care of one another.”
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