Murder victim's mom teaches Hadley-Luzerne teachers to 'choose love'

September 04, 2019 07:43 PM

LAKE LUZERNE - She's sharing the heartbreaking details of her tragedy with complete strangers. This is Scarlett Lewis's life post-December 2012. It was then that she buried her son, Jesse, who was just 6 when he was shot and killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"I knew that if the shooter had been able to give and receive nurturing, healing, love the tragedy would never have happened," she said.


So Lewis started a movement, urging schools to teach social and emotional skills. It's called the "Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement" and Lewis brings the curriculum around the country and around the world.

The thinking is that kids learn about subject areas, but they don't learn how to be compassionate, grateful, forgiving, and courageous.

Diane Camardello, a teacher for 31 years, is eager to share the lessons with her fourth graders.

"Something that might happen on the bus or something that might happen in the cafeteria or on the playground. They're going to have tools to be able to deal with just everything in life," Camardello said.

Lewis says the lessons, which were created by a team of education and science experts, are meant to supplement and reinforce what's being taught at home.

"Some parents don't have all these skills and tools," Lewis said. "That's why it becomes very important that we teach this in schools as well."

Beecher Baker, Hadley-Luzerne's superintendent, says the importance of the lessons can't be overstated.

"It teaches kids that piece of emotionally how to deal with situations and problems that they are going to see in their lives, for the rest of their lives," Baker said.

There is no cost to the schools for the materials and the curriculum. The only cost, Lewis maintains, comes in not teaching it.


Mark Mulholland

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