Schools take safety precautions | December 19, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Schools - December 19, 2012

Schools take safety precautions

by Barbara Wood

Local schools reacted quickly to reassure parents they are taking precautions to prevent the tragedy that happened at a Connecticut elementary school on Dec. 14.

The shootings, said Portola Valley School District Superintendent Carol Piraino in a message to parents, remind us "of the critical importance of being prepared for the unthinkable. Part of our ongoing disaster preparedness includes reviewing classroom lock down procedures and conducting practice drills with our students."

Beth Polito, superintendent of the Woodside Elementary School District, sent a similar message "to alert the community to the steps we are taking to make sure our students and staff are safe."

In addition to a Monday staff meeting to review "dangerous intruder protocol," Dr. Politio said the school already has rules in place for students to travel outside the classroom in pairs and all K-2 students be escorted to and from classes.

She asked parents to "sign in at the office if you need to be on campus for any reason. If you notice anyone suspicious on or near the campus, alert school staff immediately. ... Discuss stranger danger with your child. Remind them to be cautious of adults they do not know and to enlist the support of a trusted adult whenever they feel unsure about a situation or person."

In the Menlo Park City School District, Superintendent Maurice Ghysel told parents "we have ongoing training and drills regarding the safety of our students, and this incident will further heighten our attention and measures of prevention."

"We will continue to work very closely with our police to maintain, update and practice lock down procedures when dealing with a possible armed intruder. Our police will continue to have a strong presence in and around our local schools and understand the concerns," Dr. Ghysel wrote.

"What happened in Connecticut greatly saddens all of us, and we remain vigilant in protecting our students, staff, and community," he concluded.


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