School safety is top priorityLocal school leaders want the community to know they’ve prepared the best they can to protect students. In the wake of last Friday’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, District 206 Superintendent Terry Quist told the Echo Press that school support teams were ready to respond to students as needed.
By: Amy Chaffins, Alexandria Echo Press
Local school leaders want the community to know they’ve prepared the best they can to protect students.
In the wake of last Friday’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, District 206 Superintendent Terry Quist told the Echo Press that school support teams were ready to respond to students as needed.
“We want to emphasize to our students that as the adults in their lives, we do everything we can to keep them safe,” he said.
PLAN IN PLACE
District 206 has a comprehensive crisis plan in place to help avoid tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The plan is reviewed and updated annually.
“The safety of our students is always the top priority in our district. We take seriously our responsibility to ensure the safety of each child every day,” Quist said.
Each school in the district has a building-specific plan to handle emergency situations.
“We work with local law enforcement and fire departments to prepare for emergency situations and regularly practice our safety procedures, including those for a building lockdown, with students and staff.
Minnesota law requires schools to have a written crisis management policy and must include school lock-down drills.
The plan outlines specific steps staff and administration should take in events like a shooting, intruder, bomb threat or severe weather. In the event of a shooting, the first step is to seek immediate shelter for students.
Anyone visiting a District 206 school is required to enter through a front door where each school has a check-in process requiring visitors to sign in with the school office. Other exterior doors of the buildings are to remain locked at all times.
KEEPING THINGS ROUTINE
In the meantime, Quist said, “Experience tells us to make this week as routine and typical as possible. We also know that children may need extra care and support if they become aware of this event.”
Parents were told over the weekend that if they have concerns about their child’s reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, they should contact their child’s school.
“Each school has staff that will be able to provide help for concerns such as this,” Quist said.
“I, along with the rest of the District 206 staff, was deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Newtown, Connecticut community.”
Twenty children were killed in the shooting Friday, along with six adults – all educators at the school. The alleged shooter, Adam Lanza, reportedly killed his mother before going to the school. Lanza killed himself after the shooting rampage, according to investigators.