In light of the recent elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Duxbury Public Schools Superintendent Ben Tantillo sent an email out to parents this weekend, reminding them of the steps that are being taken to keep Duxbury students safe.
In the email, Tantillo said the district “has in place plans for the protection of our students and staff from intruders, fire, fallout from the Pilgrim power plant and other events.” Tantillo informed parents that the schools work closely with the police and fire departments and has an officer specifically assigned to the schools.
On Sunday evening, parents of high school students received a call from the student council, asking students to wear green and white, the Sandy Hook Elementary school colors, to honor the memory of the victims. High school students also observed a minute of silence after the morning announcement.
Tantillo said the schools have counselors and crisis teams “at the ready” for students or adults who are having trouble dealing with the tragedy. At the lower levels, Tantillo said they are letting parents decide how much they want to tell their younger children.
In addition, Tantillo said the schools will probably go through a security audit with the police department to see if they have any recommendations.
“The new building [co-located Middle and High Schools] is being built with security in mind,” he said. “The older building will need to be retrofitted in some areas once we determine how effective their security systems are.”
The police department regularly visits schools during lock down drills and the fire department monitors evacuation drills. In addition, Tantillo said teachers have emergency procedure charts accessible in every classroom.
“The emergency procedure charts cover incidents such as hostage situations, school bus accidents, missing students and medical events,” he said. “Any time this happens you pause and look at what you are doing to see if you can do better.”
On Monday morning, Chandler Elementary School principal Suzanne Billingham sent a letter to families to let them know the staff will review lockdown procedures and will work with the schools’ safety officer. In addition, a safe entry system will be installed at Chandler as soon as possible.
“We, as a staff, will not intitiate any conversations about this event, as we respect your decision about what you want and do not want your children to know,” Billingham wrote in the email. “We will contact you, however, if your child seems particularly upset about these events.”
Tantillo said the schools are always concerned about the safety and well being of their students. He urged Duxbury families to “keep the children and adults whose lives were lost and their families in your prayers.”