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What Connecticut superintendents are telling families, teachers after the Texas school shooting

APTOPIX Texas School Shooting
Jae C. Hong
A family pays their respects next to crosses bearing the names of Tuesday's shooting victims at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Thursday, May 26, 2022.

Connecticut school districts are reaching out to families after 19 children and two adults were killed in the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

An open line of communication is needed, said Fran Rabinowitz, the executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. She was a superintendent herself: In 2012 in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Rabinowitz worked in Hamden.

After the Texas school shooting, local superintendents are assuring families about school safety. Rabinowitz says they’re telling families that additional police officers have been dispatched to schools and that counseling is available.

Her advice for parents in 2012 is similar to how districts are talking to parents now after Uvalde.

“One of the hardest conversations to have with parents is to say, ‘We’re going to do everything possible to keep your children as safe as we possibly can and we need your help with that, but understand we can’t guarantee 100% that your children will always be safe,’” Rabinowitz said.

In Bridgeport, the district sent out a memo on coping tips for children from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Alan Bookman, the superintendent in Glastonbury, sent out an email that included a link to the website of the Child Development Institute that featured ways to talk to kids about violence.

“Please be assured we have taken many steps, in consultation with security experts, to ensure the safety of the people in our buildings,” Bookman said. “We have trained security guards in every building. We have swipe-card/buzz-in systems for building entry as well as additional building security measures. We undergo regular security audits and we practice fire and lockdown drills throughout the school year.”

Bookman continued: “There is no guarantee of 100% security, but we take these important steps to secure our buildings while also maintaining a welcoming environment.”

The Texas shooting is a reminder that teachers are on the front lines of school safety, Rabinowitz said. She says it’s important that local school districts reach out to their teachers after such an event to ask educators what they need.

“We can’t make it all OK — and I think it’s good to be able to say that and to stand with them in saying, ‘We want the highest safety standards — and frankly thank goodness in Connecticut we have gun control — but, we want everything in place that can be in place to guarantee their safety. They’re very important people in children’s lives,” Rabinowitz said.

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