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Blumenthal to offer amendment in honor of Newtown victim

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is seeking to amend a federal education bill and set aside funding to train teachers in social and emotional learning.  He introduced the amendment yesterday, calling it the Jesse Lewis Empowering Educators Act.  The legislation is named for 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, one of 20 first graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 


Scarlett Lewis created the foundation after her son's death. Lewis said Jesse wrote the words "nurturing, healing and love" on her kitchen blackboard days before the shooting.  She said those words became the inspiration for the foundation.  The Jesse Lewis Foundation is focused on programs and curriculum for children, teachers and parents that encourage peaceful and positive interactions.


Blumenthal says qualities of courage and resilience shown by Jesse and other Sandy Hook heroes will help inspire lesson plans for emotional intelligence and personal strength.


Blumenthal says this would address how children learn to recognize and manage emotions, achieve positive goals, demonstrate caring and concern for others, maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions and handle interpersonal situations effectively. This includes learning how to calm oneself when angry, make friends and resolve conflicts. Numerous studies and reports have found that students who exhibit these skills not only perform better academically, but are less likely to engage in problem behavior like alcohol and drug use, violence, truancy and bullying.


Senator Chris Murphy says he learned from Jesse's mother, that the 6-year old had this idea that you always help somebody when you can, and that if you can make somebody a little bit better off, then you do it.  Murphy says by making schools a safer, more compassionate place for kids to grow and learn, that will honor Jesse's memory.


5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says social and emotional learning is a proactive and effective holistic response to violence and helps facilitate early mental health interventions.

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