The international organization Save the Children, headquartered only 20 miles from where the killings occurred in Newtown, Conn. opened up a “child friendly space” in the community to give local children a place to play while their parents seek counseling and support.
The group said parents and other adults should listen to children carefully, reassure them, give them extra time and attention, be a model for them of sensitivity to others, and help them return to their normal routine.
In Delahanty’s letter, he said that all the schools are as prepared as they can be for such an event.
“We’re confident we have practices and protocols in place – emergency procedures that are routinely practiced – and intended to prepare for such circumstances,” Delahanty wrote. “Please understand that no amount of preparation or planning can prevent such a tragedy from occurring, but it can help us to be prepared.”
Andover Superintendent Marinel McGrath also sent a letter to the community.
“An event such as this is so difficult for any age child or adult to absorb, as we all have connections to school and we all feel this deeply,” McGrath wrote.
Dr. Jayan Marie Landry, the CEO/Executive Director of Trauma Intervention Programs of the Merrimack Valley, said that her staff is prepared if a similar tragedy were to happen in the area.
“We deal with individuals right away to offer them support and provide a sense of structure and relief,” Landry said.
Landry said they are on call 24 hours a day to be ready to respond to any sort of tragedy.
They receive a call from law enforcement and try to be ready to contact family members of victims within an hour.
“We are really focused on what we call the forgotten victims,” Landry said. “They aren’t the physical victims, but they are the ones who may have psychological problems.”