Responding to Students in the Wake of the Sandy Hook School Shooting

Police officers and sheriff's deputies are highly visible at schools across the nation this week. They're standing guard by front and back entrances and in their patrol cars to provide reassurance to shaken students, school staff, and parents anguished by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.


Jessica Kornfeld, a parent of two young children in Miami-Dade County, drove her kids to their elementary school to show them it was safe to attend after also explaining to them the tragic incident in Connecticut. She is among many parents trying to ease her fears and that of her children. It is easy to understand why so many parents, children, teachers, ESPs and administrators may feel a bit anxious at school. The latest incident has left many asking the hard to answer questions about what happened and why. We may never get those answers, but there are a few simply steps that you can take to help your students cope in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.


  • Create time to listen and be available to talk.
  • Observe children’s emotional state.
  • Provide an age appropriate response.
  • Reassure children that they are safe.
  • Review school safety procedures.
  • Limit media exposure.
  • Maintain a normal routine.



Find more tip below for preventing and dealing with school violence, as well as resources on talking to children about violent incidents, the death of a student or educator, and more.

How to Talk with Children about Connecticut School Shooting

NEA Health Information Network’s School Crisis Resources

School Crisis Guide

Dealing with Incidences of School Violence

How a school community heals after a student dies.


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