Madison school officials said Monday they have made counseling professionals available to students who express a need to talk about Friday's shooting in Newtown, Conn., and Madison's acting police chief said borough patrol officers were instructed to provide additional patrols at all Madison schools.
In a letter sent home with elementary school students on Monday, the principals of Kings Road, Central Avenue and Torey J. Sabatini elementary schools wrote they will do their "very best to provide a week that feels familiar and consistent for our students."
"In times like these, solid, predictable routines are comforting and provide a feeling of security," the principals, Philip Kennedy, Michael Post and Kathleen Koop, wrote.
The administrators also said they will continue to examine school security procedures to provide a safe and secure setting for students at all times.
"As we feel for the families and their horrific losses, we are also trying our best to focus on our next steps as educators and parents," the letter said.
They said the schools trust parents will know how best to present the news of the shooting to their children, and faculty would not be engaging in class discussions about the shooting, though the elementary schools guidance counselor would be available to address any concerns or questions.
"If you have questions regarding how to process this with your child, or if your child has expressed fear or concerns, please feel free to contact the elementary schools’ guidance counselor, Megan Figarella, at firstname.lastname@example.org," the letter said. "Mrs. Figarella will also be sending home literature relevant to these events and how to approach the matter with your child."
Superintendent Dr. Michael Rossi said similar letters were sent to parents of Madison Junior School and Madison High School students. He also said the district is comforted by having a dedicated, caring and talented police force to help.
Acting Madison Police Chief Darren Dachisen sent a community alert on Monday saying the police department has always worked closely with the Madison Board of Education, St. Vincent Martyr School and Drew University to ensure the safety of all students.
"I want to reassure you that we are committed to providing a safe learning environment here in Madison," he said. "We currently have a school resource officer that is permanently assigned to Madison Schools and several DARE officers who are routinely present at the Central Avenue, Kings Road and Torey J. Sabatini Schools. The Madison Police Department Emergency Services Unit actively trains in our school environment for the safety of our children. I have reached out to the Madison Board of Education to answer any questions they may have and to review emergency plans. For the near future, Madison Patrol Officers are directed to provide additional patrols to all of our schools.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and all who are affected by this unspeakable act."