Devastating news broke Wednesday afternoon about the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Video and photos flooded media, with images of students being escorted out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by SWAT teams, interspersed with pictures of anguished parents waiting for news of their children. The news was heartbreaking–17 people confirmed dead and more injured when a former student entered the school and started shooting.

Wednesday evening, Wilton School District superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith emailed a message to families (below) about the mass shooting and detailed measures being put in place in the Wilton schools for when students arrived on Thursday morning. Those steps include more visible police presence on the town’s four school campuses as well as increased availability of district mental health counselors to meet with students needing support.

Smith’s note also contained a paragraph about something the district has increasingly focused on–mental health and stress experienced by students in a high-pressured school environment. He reaffirmed the district’s commitment to exploring efforts to support students and ensure their safety.

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Parkland, Florida. As adult caregivers our hearts break for those devastated by this senseless act.

We must also step back and consider the mental health crisis gripping our young across this nation. There is much to explore and much to do to ensure our children grow to be healthy and resilient. Please know that our schools are committed to this effort and committed to ensuring that our children are safe.

Tomorrow as one additional step to provide some measure of comfort, you can expect to see a more visible police presence on our school campuses. Our teachers will be on alert for any students who may be feeling particularly anxious and our mental health providers will be available to speak with any student who requires their support. If you are concerned about your child please contact your school’s administrators or school counseling staff.

Kevin Smith
Wilton Public Schools