Jewish Schools Ramp Up Security After Newtown

Rampage Tugs at Heartstrings and Provides Wake-Up Call

First Day Back: A Newtown student peers out of a school bus. Schools were open for the first time in the Connecticut town since the deadly rampage on Friday.
getty images
First Day Back: A Newtown student peers out of a school bus. Schools were open for the first time in the Connecticut town since the deadly rampage on Friday.

By JTA

Published December 18, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Like many other mothers, Patti Weiss Levy’s heart broke when she heard about last Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The longtime Connecticut resident lives an hour away from Newtown, so she assumed she wouldn’t know anyone involved. But as details of the massacre began to emerge, Weiss Levy says she realized just how small Connecticut is.

“We later found out my daughter babysat for one of the children killed,” Weiss Levy told JTA. “And the drummer in my daughter’s band could not attend a concert that night because his sister was one of the teachers killed, too. They were the nicest people, and this whole thing is horrid, just unspeakable.”

As the funerals began Monday for the 20 children and six adults gunned down last Friday by 20-year-old Adam Lanzo, Jewish schools around the country grappled with how to discuss the tragedy appropriately with students and whether there were ways to improve security at their own schools.

Administration officials at the Bicultural Day School in Stamford, Conn., some 30 miles from Newtown, spent all of Monday combing the grounds with security experts, one faculty member told JTA. The entire staff arrived at the school early in the morning for a meeting about how to discuss the Newtown massacre with their students. This week, the staff’s main concern was to make sure their building had the best security system possible.

The school also had a personal connection to Newtown: A teacher at Bicultural is married to Rabbi Shaul Praver, who led the funeral service for one of the victims, 6-year-old Noah Pozner.

Around the country, parents of Jewish school students expressed concerns about security. At the Hillel Day School in Boca Raton, Fla., school officials said they received a torrent of emails from parents requesting that they update their security system and emergency procedures. Head of School Rabbi Samuel Levine said the school was considering its options.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.