Schools operating with heavy hearts in wake of tragedy
Local school leaders are reassessing security measures in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shootings that occurred on Friday, Dec. 14. The West Hempstead School District released a detailed outline on coping if parents were having trouble communicating with their children about the incident.
District Superintendent John Hogan detailed security measures the district currently has in place, including having adults at each door of the schools. Cameras surround area schools and certain doors require key code access. Like many school districts across the country, West Hempstead will review its current plans and procedures already in place.
“The health and safety of all in our school district has been and will continue to be our first priority,” Hogan said. “In the aftermath of yesterday’s tragedy, I directed the principals to review their school’s emergency management plan. On Monday, as part of my regularly scheduled monthly meeting with the principals, we will review our security plans and procedures together.”
Hogan, like any parent, prays for the safety of his children every day.
“As the father of two daughters, I know that I send them off each day with a prayer and the expectation that throughout the day they will be safe in their schools and in the local pharmacy where they both work,” he said. “I do not expect that tragedy will come to visit them or that I will not see them again in the evening.”
In a letter to parents, Franklin Square School District Superintendent Patrick Manley said, “we will remain vigilant in our mission to provide our students a high quality education in the safest, most nurturing environment possible.”
District officials recently visited the Morelly Center for Homeland Security in Bethpage. Franklin Square partnered with several firms housed in the Morelly Center to review safety plans.
No one expected those new plans would need to be put to the test this quickly. According to the letter, the district is currently planning additional safety drills and procedures recommended by those firms.
As he returned to school Monday, Dec. 17, Manley hugged his children a bit differently.
“The uncertainty of leaving them stings and will probably remain with me throughout the coming days,” Manley said. “As we navigate through the near future, please know that all actions we take were carefully considered to provide the safest environment possible. We are in this together as a community of caregivers.”