Article Categories

The 6 Failures – Sandy Hook Lessons Learned? SERAPH – CONGRESSIONAL REPORT


Sandy Hook Lessons Learned?



ü  Shooter Adam Lanza arrived at the front of school UNNOTICED parking next to a NO PARKING ZONE


ü  Principal & psychologist were in a conference room and went to investigate NOISES in the Hallway resulting in their death. They sensed danger as Principal told others in the conference to stay put.  A PHONE in this room could have been used to announce Lockdown situation via intercom


ü  Main Office staff heard glass breaking and observed the shooter. Did not secure office doors or initiate lockdown.


ü  Classroom doors at Sandy hook can only be locked from the Hallway Side with a key. Did the classroom teachers in classroom 8 &10, where the majority of killing took place, probably hear the gunshots and noise in the hallway and were unable to lock their doors?  (Police found the doors unlocked and no forced entry)


ü  Classroom 10 had a fluorescent light system that automatically turned on when room was entered /occupied. Were the lights on indicating room was occupied when Lanza was in the hallway?




ü   09:35:39  First 911 call received


ü   09:39:00  First Newtown officer arrives on scene


ü   09: 39:13 Two more New Town Officers arrive. 3 are now on scene.


ü   09: 39:34   A Newtown Officer (singular) encounters male running with something

                          Hand (Later determined to be cell phone)


ü   09:40:03   Lanza commits suicide (last gunshot heard)


ü   09:41:24   A Newtown Officer (singular) has a male prone on the ground. Report does not

                         distinguish if this is same person as 09:39:34 incident.


ü   09:44:47 Newtown Officers first enter Sandy hook Elementary.



Question: Even though a Newtown police Officer was detaining a potential suspect outside, could other officers have entered the school sooner when Adam Lanza was still alive?

                   He conducted his killing spree in rooms connected to the Main Hallway/Lobby entrance.  Protocol for Active Shooters is to enter the school immediately upon arrival and neutralize the threat.




  1. Did Adam Lanza have an IEP [Individualized Education Plan] required by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) ?
  2. In 2012 did the Newtown Public School District’s Emergency and School Safety plan meet Connecticut state requirements and federal USDOE standards?
  3. Does the current Safety / Emergency plans provide specific shooting preventions tactics?
  4. Did the Superintendent and school board meet with Law Enforcement officials to determine what role the school district played in the allowing the shooting?
  5. Do they have a formal process for outside security walks every 15-30 minutes as recommended by the USDOE / USDOJ?
  6. Has a security MANAGEMENT audit been performed in the last 12 months that meets Federal [U.S. Department of Education – United States Department of Justice] standards for a “Climate Assessment?






“Is the school forced to do psycho-educational testing when the child’s school team agrees that testing would not provide information relevant to the child’s educational planning? The foster parent and court advocate want the child tested anyway. Does the school have to provide information from testing? This child fits every exclusionary clause from special education written, and testing is not needed when the classroom teachers are making accommodations and modifications.”



Criteria for Evaluations

Teacher assessments and interventions do not meet the criteria for an evaluation. According to the IDEA, “the screening of a student by teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies … shall not be considered to be an evaluation ..” (20 U.S.C. 1414(a)(1)(E))


You do not say if the child is a child with a disability who receives special education services under an IEP, so we will look at two scenarios:


(1) parent requests evaluation of a child who is not receiving services under an IEP, and

(2) parent requests evaluation of a child who receives special ed services under an IEP.

Parent Requests Evaluation of a Child Who is Not Receiving Services under an IEP


You wrote that the teachers provide accommodations and modifications. This suggests that the child needs to be evaluated for special education eligibility.


The law about the requirement to evaluate if requested by the child’s parent is clear and unambiguous:

“A State educational agency, other State agency, or local educational agency [school district] shall conduct a full and individual initial evaluation … either the parent of a child, or a State education agency, other State agency, or local educational agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability.” 20 USC 1414(a)(1)

In the section about Child Find, you learn:


“All children with disabilities residing in the state, including children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated . . .” (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3))


Parent Requests Evaluation of a Child Who Receives Special Education Service Under an IEP

If the child is receiving special education services under an IEP, the child’s progress should be monitored frequently. It’s hard to imagine a school taking the position that “testing would not provide information relevant to the child’s educational planning.” If the school doesn’t use test results, how can they make rational decisions about the child’s educational needs?


Evaluation Results

You asked, “Does the school have to provide information from testing?” Yes. The child’s parents are entitled to receive copies of all evaluations and test scores.


Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents have the right to inspect and review all educational records relating to their child. Educational records include evaluations and test results. The right to review records includes the right to have copies of records and to receive explanations and interpretations from school officials. (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1415(b); U.S.C. at 1232g and 1232h)


In your email, you did not mention your role.


If you wrote on behalf of the school, please pass this information on to other school staff so they know schools are required (“forced”) to evaluate.


If you are acting on the child’s behalf, I suggest that you write a letter to the foster parent, advocate, and judge. Advise them that the school does not believe they should be “forced” to evaluate the child (and comply with the law). Thus, it’s likely that any testing by the school will support the school’s position. You may want to ask the judge to order an evaluation by an expert in the private sector.


USDOE – USSS Threat AssessmentThreat Assessment in Schools: A Guide to Managing Threatening Situations and to Creating Safe School Climates


USDOE – USDOJ School Violence Prevention Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks

Bookmark and Share

One Response to “The 6 Failures – Sandy Hook Lessons Learned? SERAPH – CONGRESSIONAL REPORT”