Updates from School Shooting

- There were 20 children killed and six adults including the principal who, just last month, had tweeted a photo of their safety drill.  Apparently she was a beloved and effective principal.

Ms. Hochsprung believed that many students engaged better with electronic screens than with blackboards, and she made sure her teachers had iPads in the classroom. Then, she organized “Appy Hour” sessions to discuss the most useful teaching apps.  

She was no distant authority figure. Ms. Licata said her young children, who often skimped on details of their days, regularly came home with stories of what Ms. Hochsprung had done that day.

- According to  the NY Times, the killer forced his way into the building.

 The school had a security protocol that called for doors to be locked during the day and visitors to be checked on a video monitor inside. 

“You had to buzz in and out and the whole nine yards,” said a former chairwoman of the Newtown board of education, Lillian Bittman. “When you buzz, you come up on our screen.”

The lock system did not go into effect until 9:30 each morning, according to a letter to parents from the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was one of those killed on Friday. 

Mr. Vance did not say how the shooter gained entry, but he said investigators believe it was clear he was not voluntarily allowed entry. 

- Apparently the shooter's mother was/had been a teacher at the school and he killed her at their home first.  A psychologist on NPR suggested that killing the children was his way to kill the job she cherished.  

- One of our readers, Looking for Humanity, noted this:

Don't get comfortable, I wish we could tell students to alert counselors if they see a weapon. I wish there were counselors to help all our elementary school students to process this disaster.I predict that many students will not feel safe at school after they hear the news.

Only 16 of our 60 or so Seattle elementary schools have even a percentage of a counselor.

Not only are they not in buildings to help with recovery from a tragedy, they are also not there to teach kids how to express themselves appropriately, how to regulate their emotions, how to solve problems, how to ask for help when they need it. They are not there to build the relationships that are proven to make the difference in young lives. Sadly I expect that there will be future tragic events that can be prevented now with intervention and support of school counselors. Are we so sure we don't have students in our schools now that are headed in this violent direction? What are we doing to prevent it in our own backyard?

It's ironic (and misleading) that Banda sent an all-staff email today about this tragedy that included the following statement: "We are coordinating with schools and school guidance counselors to provide emotional support for students next week." What counselors Mr. Banda? Which select students will get support?(bold mine)

That is a good question.


mirmac1 said…
Hmmm, lessee, elementary school counselors... Oh, I get it!

I have the highest regard for building staff that are, truly, the front line against our society's problems.

I'm sure I speak for many that our thoughts and prayers are for the residents of Newtown, CT
Anonymous said…
Weren't school counselors axed before Banda took over?

Anonymous said…
yes, elementary counselors were axed centrally before Mr. Banda came along. But why is he referring to them now as if they exist throughout the district? It's misleading. It seems he doesn't even realize that they are missing in about 75% of our elementary schools. He refers to these counselors as being at the crux of his plan to address student needs around this shooting.


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