Keeping Sandy Hook Families Together

The board passed a resolution Tuesday night to "make every effort" to avoid redistricting.


At Tuesday night's meeting, the Newtown Board of Education voted to approve a resolution declaring it would "make every effort" to keep redistricting from ever separating the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The move came, at least in part, as a response to overwhelming opposition to the idea of redistricting at Sunday afternoon's public meeting to discuss the fate of the Sandy Hook building. In that meeting, numerous residents -- including those at an impasse about whether or not to return to the school after the December shootings -- came to a near-consensus: don't ever pull the Sandy Hook families apart. And the board agreed.

"Teachers feel this way, families feel this way and we as aboard feel this way," said Board of Education chair Debbie Leidlein before the unanimous vote.

The measure read in part:

"Be it Resolved that the Newtown Board of Education will make every effort to honor the expressed desire of the families in the Sandy Hook Elementary School District and others in the Town of Newtown by committing to minimize or, preferably, avoid entirely any redistricting of the Sandy Hook Elementary School District as we determine how we will provide an environment in Newtown that is as safe and nurturing as the Chalk Hill School facility in Monroe to which we have been able to send them in the interim."

Before the vote, Board of Education member Paul Vouros asked if more decisive language might be preferable.

"Everybody on this board is completely committed to keeping the Sandy Hook School families together," said Leidlein. "But we cannot predict that something might occur that's out of our control that would not allow us to do that."

Other town officials have expressed similar sentiments. Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra told reporters she would oppose redistricting as much as she could within her role as an individual, but not necessarily as a representative of the government.

"It would not be my opinion to advance redistricting," she said after Sunday's meeting. "I can tell you as a former educator, I am absolutely passionate about neighborhood schools, and I think the model we have here comes the closest to replicating  that."


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