Emphasize The Normal, Prepare For The Unusual

School district back to school after Sandy Hook tragedy

There is comfort in routine. A safety borne of familiarity, like an old pair of shoes, predictable and comfortable.

Especially after events as tragic as Friday’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, the everyday routine becomes paramount to regaining your footing, school officials said.

On Monday, the first day back for Wall Township students since a gunman took the lives of 20 first graders, the everyday routine, augmented by extra patrols by Wall Township Police, was something that schools Superintendent Dan Simon strove to provide for the pupils of the district’s seven schools.

“I think, generally speaking, people are comforted in seeing the way we approach safety of our students,’’ Simon said.

Simon personally visited each school in the district Monday, he said, speaking with counselors, administration, teachers and students.  In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, safety was everyone’s top concern, Simon said.

Simon said not long after the details of the Connecticut shooting unfolded Friday, he and Police Chief Robert Brice spoke about increasing the number of patrols near the district’s seven schools. Brice agreed that increasing them for the near future was a good idea, Simon said.

“There’s a heightened awareness about school safety,’’ Simon said.

On Sunday night, each of the Wall school administration sent out a phone message to parents, assuring them of the schools’ safety, Simon said.

Counselors were on hand today, and teachers, administration and other school staff were keenly aware to make note of those who might exhibit a deeper need to talk, or vent, in light of recent events.

“There’s no way that it’s not on everyone’s mind,” Simon said. “I think there’s an deep awareness that we are in the business of educating children, and you can’t educate those children unless they feel safe.”

So Monday was all about settling back into the routine, Simon said.

Counselors are available for any student, or parent, who may need those services. A spot on the district’s website will announce by sometime today what those services are and how to access them, Simon said.

“Being in school is one of the safest places to be,” Simon said. “And the routine has to be normal. It’s just something a kid feels if they’re in same routine that they’re always in -- they feel safe in that’s what is needed right now.’’


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