At its first meeting since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School Committee heard from Superintendent/Principal Scott Carpenter regarding the school’s response to the fatal shootings of 20 first-graders and six educators by a 20-year-old gunman who also killed himself.
“We all were shocked by the tragedy. It was hard for many people, particularly given this school’s own history,” said Carpenter, referring to the fatal stabbing of James Alenson, 15, at the high school on Jan. 19, 2007, by a fellow student in an unprovoked attack in a boy’s bathroom. John Odgren, now 22, is currently serving a life sentence in the case.
Carpenter said L-S students quickly organized on Facebook after the Newtown massacre. He said many students dressed in black and took a group photo in a symbolic gesture of support for the grieving community of Newtown. He said students also sold white ribbons, the proceeds of which were donated to charities that are working with the Newtown victims. He said students and staff took part in a moment of silence on Friday, Dec. 21, to mark one week since the first shots were fired at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Carpenter says while Lincoln-Sudbury is still in a healing process from the Alenson case and the Newtown massacre, he remains confident in the school’s safety. He says changes were made following the Alenson murder, such as more supervision in the early mornings when students are first starting to arrive for school, and the installation of security cameras that can be reviewed later if necessary.
Tragedies like the Sandy Hook massacre involve both weapons and mental health issues, Carpenter said. He said the school has established a referral system to help individuals who may be experiencing social or emotional issues.
“Lincoln-Sudbury is an incredibly safe school," he said. "That is one thing that we can be proud of in this community.”