When Stratford Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Janet Robinson, learned of last week’s stabbing death in Jonathan Law high school, in neighboring Milford, her heart sank. She had been there before.
When the Sandy Hook tragedy struck, Dr. Robinson was the Newtown Superintendent. She says one of the first peers to reach out to her was Dr. Betty Feser, the Milford Superintendent of Schools.
“I knew that I could turn to her any time I needed to just decompress,” said Robinson. “And, I’ve let her know that I’m there for her.”
There are so many parallels between the communities of Stratford and Milford.
“We have teachers who live in Milford and teach in Stratford and we have kids who are on the same teams,”said Robinson.
And, she noted, that just like Milford in Stratford’s fire and police department’s perform mutual aid so to do the school systems.
“I spoke to our two high school principals,” said Robinson. “I asked who they had available to assist over the weekend at Milford.”
And the Stratford and Milford connections are personal for Dr. Robinson. Just last year, she had a grandson, who graduated from Jonathan Law high school.
I called his dad and said you better let him know this has happened…so that he doesn’t just get it on Twitter,” said Robinson, who has 10 grandchildren.
Having experienced school-based trauma, her advice to Milford was succinct.
“They need to be tolerant of one another’s different grieving stages,” Robinson suggested.
Dr. Robinson says a Harvard trained psychiatrist she heard speak, about a month before Sandy Hook, summed up how healing is best achieved.
“He says you make a compassionate choice to focus your efforts on other people, outside of yourself,” she said.
And Robinson says Milford can walk to the grieving family members of Newtown as shining examples of how to survive.
While Stratford schools, like many other across the state, continue to harden their buildings, Dr. Robinson says metal detectors will not likely be part of the continued progress.