Newtown to remember shooting with 15 minutes of silence

Posted at 3:31 PM, Dec 11, 2016

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Newtown plans to mark the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook school massacre with 15 minutes of reflective silence.

Town official Pat Llodra has asked Newtown employees to refrain from doing any work, including answering phones, between 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The town also will lower its flags to half-staff to honor the 20 children and six educators shot to death when a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. The gunman, who had earlier killed his mother inside their home, also killed himself.

"It is our mutual commitment that this event will never be forgotten and that we will honor those lost children and educators each and every year," First Selectman Llodra wrote in a memo to town employees.

School Superintendent Joseph Erardi said Wednesday will be a full day of classes in the school system and will include quiet reflection and age-appropriate messages for students.

Erardi said school staff also will provide talking points to parents who request help for having personal conversations with their children about the anniversary.

The town's Interfaith Clergy Association plan to lead a private prayer service with school staff before classes begin. It plans another service in the evening for the community at Trinity Episcopal Church.

The Newtown Center for Support Services, which handles counseling related to the tragedy, plans to extend its hours on Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

"Some community members don't want to talk about it," Jennifer Crane, the center's director, told Hearst Connecticut Media. "Other community members want to talk about it every day. So we try to balance that out and let everybody know we are here for whatever their needs are."