If your child notices a few more adults and a few more police cars at school Monday morning, Superintendent Daniel Nerad is assuring parents: it's all preventative.
Friday night, Nerad told Birmingham parents that Birmingham Public Schools would be working with local police agencies Monday to heighten security at all buildings in light of Friday's tragic shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, CT.
Twenty-seven people died during the morning shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School — including 20 children, six adults and the shooter, identified by officials as 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
While details are still emerging about the shooting Newtown Patch reports the gunamn "deliberately went to Sandy Hook Elementary School with the intention of killing his mother, who was a kindergarten teacher at the school."
In a note sent home to parents earlier Friday, Nerad said the incident reminds us that "our children are precious."
"The tragic news out of Connecticut today reminds us that our children are precious, and their safety must be attended to at all times," he said.
After recieving several calls about the incident from parents Friday, Nerad said the district has decided to post staff at the main doors of each school as students arrive. School social workers and psychologists will also be available for students who need support.
All exterior doors, with the exception of the main doors, will also be locked during the day Monday after students arrive.
"Please understand that this is being done soley for preventative reasons. No direct threatening circumstances has occurred in our district," he said.
Nerad said in light of the shooting, the district plans on conducting an additional review of the district's safety policies and emergency procedures.
"This terrible tragedy serves as a reminder that we must all be vigilant in monitoring and adjusting, as necessary, our safety practices and policies," Nerad added. "I want you to be assured that we will conduct a thorough review of our safety policies and procedures. We regularly review this, but today's event's remind us that we can never be too confident when it comes to our children's and staff's safety."
Currently, the district has several security measures in place and on Sunday night, principals sent emails to Birmingham parents, asking that they're followed at all times:
- Visitors must sign in and be issued a visitor’s badge at school's main office. They must also have to sign out.
- When appropriate, visitors will be requested to provide identification.
- Employees who visit other buildings must sign in.
- Schools restrict access to the facility after students arrive for the day.
- All employees must report suspicious individuals and /or behaviors to administration.
- The Main Office must monitor the emergency/ weather band radio at all times.
- All employees and students must participate in emergency drills.
Jim Lalik, principal of Pierce Elementary School, reminded parents that parents can also work to keep Birmingham schools safe.
"As a distinctly unique neighborhood school, please help by reporting any suspicious behavior to our main office or police department," Lalik wrote home to parents Frday night. "Although this is a terrble tragedy, we want our children to enjoy school in a safe, fun, and comforting environment."
Fred Procter, principal of Groves High School, also reminded parents to sign in at the front desk and keep student drop-off and pick-up safe.
"Another area of safety concern is the pickup and drop off traffic in the parking lot," Procter said. "Let's be certain that we are driving safely and modeling safe driving for our youngsters."
Nerad assured parents that Birmingham Public Schools puts their children's safety first.
"Please be reassured that we are truly committed to your child's safety and that Birmingham Public Schools will do all within our power to continue to provide a safe, nurturing and healthy environment for your children."
"Together, let's do all we can to help our children understand what has happened here and know that while life is uncertain, that we will do all we can to ensure they are safe and protected," he said.
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Stay tuned to complete coverage of the Newtown school shooting at Newtown Patch.