Schools tighten down after Connecticut shooting
By Brielle Schaeffer, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: December 17, 2012
Schools here are tightening security and preparing resources to deal with trauma after the shooting that killed 26 people at a Connecticut school on Friday.
Elementary school principals emailed letters to parents Sunday outlining Teton County School District No. 1’s policies.
“We’re making resources available to all, not just parents and kids, but community members that may be affected,” Superintendent Pam Shea said.
Teachers will monitor children to see how they are coping, she said.
“Elementary schools are meant to be safe havens that nurture and support our children, which makes this event even more horrific,” the principals’ letter said. “Please know that the safety of the children under our care is always our highest priority.”
All school doors, not just front doors, will now be locked during the day, Shea said, and access to schools will be closely monitored.
“Buildings will have more strict guidelines for lockdown, which will be inconvenient but necessary,” she said.
Visitors will still be required to check in at the front office and wear a badge.
Schools already have emergency plans.
“We have monthly safety drills designed for us to practice our crisis plans and improve our systems,” the letter said. “Our focus is getting students to a safe spot, securing the building, and accounting for everyone in the building.”
The school district has been updating its electronic surveillance equipment and will accelerate the process, Shea said.
The district has two police officers — “resource officers” — and will be coordinating with them and their departments, she said.
Teachers will not be addressing the school shooting in class, Shea said.
“Keeping routines as normal as possible is of utmost importance,” she said.
The schools have mental health resources in place for students if needed, Shea said.
News of the school shooting was “heart-wrenching,” Shea said.
“It makes us think deeply about our systems that are in place,” she said.