For school districts across the country, the Newtown shooting was a sobering and tragic reminder that no school can fully prevent an incident from taking place. In the days after the tragedy, school districts are now wondering if the procedures they have in place to deal with an intruder are adequate.
Like many other schools, the only way to get in to either King Philip Middle School and High School once school starts is to be rung in by the main office at the main entrance. After entering the school, guests must wear a visitor’s pass and sign in at the main office.
Currently, if someone were able to get into the building that is deemed suspicious, the schools would go into lockdown. The action would result in students remaining in their classroom and out of sight from the hallway. A student in the hallway during a lockdown would go to the nearest classroom and remain there until it is safe to leave the room. The procedures for the drill are regularly practiced according to King Philip School District Superintendent Liz Zielinski.
In addition, the protocols at KP High School are under review with input from local authorities according to King Philip High School Principal Lisa Oliveira.
“We have a crisis intervention team that has been revising our crisis protocols since September. They have met with local police and fire to get their input as to best practices,” Oliveira said. “You can never fully anticipate what you will be faced with and that is why we continually revisit and revise our plans and protocols as new information is made available to us.”
Zielinski added that the school district will be reviewing their protocols next month along with the Wrentham, Plainville, and Norfolk elementary school districts and with the police departments of the three towns.
To help with school security,
If parents have to be notified of an incident, the school uses a program called ConnectEd that allows a message to be sent out via phone or email to parents. An emergency message is also posted on the front of the school district’s website.
While the school district is always looking at ways to keep their students safe, there is a reality that was confirmed last week that no school can be 100% safe from tragedy, a fact that is known at the high school.
“We should be able to guarantee our students that they can be educated in a risk free environment, but today we cannot make such a guarantee. We can only prepare ourselves by constantly communicating to improve our protocols,” Oliveira said.
Counselors will be available today at both the middle school and high school to help students cope with the tragedy.