A program borne out of the shootings at Sandy Hook School is being implemented in New Fairfield. Nicole and Ian Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed on 12-14, were at New Fairfield Middle School this afternoon to talk with students in the Wingman program. It's a student-led leadership program founded by the Hockleys to foster empathy among students and positive school communities.
It's in five middle schools in Connecticut currently, and is expected to be expanded to elementary schools soon.
They were joined by Senator Chris Murphy to see first hand how the program is working. He says this program also aims to teach kids about resiliency, respect for others and gratitude.
Murphy says schools used to just be in the business of teaching the basic academics, but that in today's society they also also have to be teaching social and emotional skills. He says this not only makes for a healthier school environment, but makes sure that kids like Dylan, who had autism, aren't excluded if they have a learning disability. Murphy says later in life kids will be better employees and better leaders.
Murphy said the uniqueness of the Wingman program is that it puts the students in charge. There is a priority list of skills to teach, but it's all student led and initiated with eighth graders making lesson plans.
He called the program a model for the nation.