Newtown School Tragedy: Northfield's Procedures, Reaction; How to Help Families Affected by Sandy Hook Shooting

People all over the world want to know how to help Sandy Hook residents following Friday's horrifying mass shooting. Post "I want to help" in this comment thread to get updates on what you can do.

Following Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT where 20 students and six adults were shot and killed, schools across the nation have been operating at elevated alert levels.

On Friday, staff and faculty in the Northfield Public Schools were on heightened alert after the shooting, but students weren't informed of the news and the day carried on as usual, according to KYMN Radio.

After October's armed robbery and subsequent manhunt, Superintendent Chris Richardson talked to Northfield Patch about procedures the district follows in those and similar crises. 

"The school district has an extensive crisis and emergency plan that is in place," he said, noting the plan is reviewed and revised annually. "That plan describes in very specific detail how we should respond to various types of crisis."

The plan gives building principals and staff specific instructions to follow when various emergencies occur.

"We also work with our students on a regular basis to make sure they're prepared," he said, adding that they do a couple different lock-down drills, titled the "stay-put lock down" and "duck and cover lock down" for if there's an intruder in a building or a person of concern is outside of the building. "We basically train students specifically how to respond in both of those situations in order to keep them safe and to make sure we're prepared in case something would happen in one of our buildings."

On Friday, Sibley Elementary Principal Scott Sannes emailed parents informing of them the situation and how the school was responding:

Please know that we have directed staff to operate at a heightened awareness level, but we have not implemented any formal lock down procedures.  We plan to maintain normalcy in our schools and we have not notified our students about the incident. Our thoughts go out to the families and the entire community of Newtown as they deal with this tragedy.

How to help

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, people from all over the world—in Connecticut, California, Canada and much farther away in Australia and India—sent an outpouring of support and want to know how they can help, reports Newtown Patch.

If you want to be notified via email of ways to provide comfort and support during this difficult time, please post in the comments section: "I want to help."

We will get your contact information to the appropriate people in the Newtown area.

The United Way of Western Connecticut, in partnership with Newtown Savings Bank, created the Sandy Hook School Support Fund to help provide support services to the families and community that are affected.

Check donations may be mailed to: 

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT  06470

If you have questions on the fund, you may call 800-461-0672.

Helpful links:

Northfield reacts

In the hours and days that have passed since Friday's shooting in Newtown, several community members have used Patch's Local Voices section to share thoughts on the shooting and offer words of encouragement.

Pastor Tim McDermott of Bethel Lutheran Church wrote that:

"In the days to come, we will all examine how such violence comes to pass and what we could do to prevent it.  We’ll talk about trauma recovery, security in our schools, gun ownership and gun control, and mental illness and treatment.  I pray that the discussions will be fruitful.

But none of these discussions will reassure me in the midst of darkness.  None of these discussions will bring comfort to the families touched by inconceivable loss.

The retail behemoth would have us think that Christmas is all about joy, dazzle, and excitement.  In the midst of tragedy, no store will be able to supply enough twinkly lights or latest gadgets to light the darkness."

Mary Upham, a PCI Certified Parent Coach, offered ideas on how to talk to children about the shootings, writing, "When things in the world get this ugly, how do we talk to our children about them when we can barely comprehend them ourselves?"

Jon Frasz wrote about passing new legislation around gun ownership and control.

What will it take for us to stand up and say no more? 
No more assault weapons on our streets.
No more free access to weapons of any kind without a background check.
No more school shootings (there have been 31 since Columbine) in our society.

On Monday, Congressman John Kline (R-Lakeville), who is the Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, released a statement about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“As new details continue to emerge about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, one thing remains certain: a community – and a nation – have been forever changed by an unthinkable act. My thoughts and prayers remain with the students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, as well as their friends and family, in this time of grief.”

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