School officials are urging parents of children who may be upset by the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown on Dec. 14 to seek counseling for them and are offering help.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Superintendent of Schools Gary Mala said children who have heard about it may become anxious and afraid of going to school. He urged parents of those children to seek help and said that the district will offer as much counseling as possible.
Mala's statement was released by the district on Saturday evening and also posted on the district's website. The full text of Mala's statement is below.
"Dear Parents, Concerned Citizens, Faculty and Staff: As the news of the Newton school tragedy become more detailed, disturbing, and widespread, we cannot help but reflect on what we know to be the greatest responsibility we have to you and your children. The responsibility to provide for the physical and emotional safety of all students is paramount to our work together each day. While this tragic event was not in our immediate geographic area, some in our community may have direct personal and/or professional ties to the people of Newtown. Regardless of whether the ties are direct or indirect, we cannot help but feel connected to this situation. With these thoughts in mind, we are aware that some students in the coming days may experience anxiety or articulate concerns about being in school because of this tragedy. I encourage anyone who experiences this with their child to contact the staff at their respective schools for assistance. We have very well trained professionals to assist children feel safe and secure. As a district leadership team we have organized all support services and counseling staff to make themselves available to respond to any needs our children may have related to this event in the coming days. The following resources may be helpful as you speak to your children about what is likely to continue to dominate the local, state and national press in the immediate future and beyond:
"If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your Principal or me. Again, I ask you to join me in expressing our deepest sympathies to those who have been impacted by the tragic event in Newtown. Peace to you always. I remain very truly yours, Gary Gary S. Mala Superintendent of Schools."
Mala also issued a statement on Friday several hours after the shootings saying that he was directing principals and other staff to be ready for questions from the public about the emergency plans the district has and to be forthcoming with information about them.