Schools around Connecticut have seen a number of acts of violence as well as threats that have closed schools, worrying educators, students, and their families. While many of these threats have turned out to be hoaxes, schools must thoroughly investigate each incident to ensure a school community’s safety.
“We have to take all of these issues incredibly seriously in light of what’s happening across the country,’’ CEA President Kate Dias told the Hartford Courant. “The consequence of not doing that is really too dire.”
Some students are facing significant mental health issues in the wake of the pandemic and a year and a half of disrupted learning. The stress of the pandemic has affected different children in different ways.
“We have a lot of students who are out of practice with being in a classroom and some have returned a little more frustrated, agitated, and scared,’’ Dias said. “There are a lot of challenges.”
For years CEA has been calling for more social workers, counselors, psychologists, and behavioral interventionists in Connecticut schools—the need for additional personnel is more evident now than ever.
“We need to support our struggling students and we need to simultaneously provide an environment in which all students can be safe and learn,” said Dias.
During a press conference today outside Eli Whitney Technical High School, which has experienced lockdowns as the result of social media threats both yesterday and today, State Police Sergeant Dawn Pagan said these threats are part of a nationwide trend.
“This is a trend we’re seeing across the nation right now–creating and posting threatening social media posts in an attempt to be dismissed from school,” she said. She stressed that these threats are something the State Police take very seriously, and students making threats have been and will be arrested.
“We want parents to spread that message to their kids that this is something that will be handled seriously,” she said. She urged parents to stay vigilant and monitor their children’s devices and social media accounts. “Make sure you have the passwords and you monitor what your kids are doing,” she said. “It can prevent a tragedy from happening.”