Stoughton School Security Changes After Newtown Tragedy

A year after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the Stoughton schools have made safety improvements and are continuing to work on school security.

In Newtown, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six educators in the Dec. 12, 2012 mass murder. Lanza killed his mother Nancy before going to the school, and took his own life after the school shooting before first responders arrived. 

That tragedy led schools to look at their own safety polices and make security changes.

Stoughton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Rizzi couldn't go into the entire changes for security reasons, but they have been working closely with the Stoughton Police and Fire departments, developing a crisis team, bringing in consultants and providing A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) training, which teaches the staff how to respond to a crisis. Another police officer has also been added to the schools.

"The system is in place," she said. "We're leaving no stone unturned."

Before the A.L.I.C.E. training was put into place, school staff was told to stay in their rooms, duck and keep quiet. After the school shooting was studied, the exact opposite approach was adopted. School staff is now told to make as much noise as they can and create distractions to make it difficult for the shooter. They are also told to break windows and do anything they can to get out. 

Rizzi said the schools are waiting for a report from Homeland Security for further recommendation.

"They are behind because of the sequester," she said.

It will be a quiet day of remembering in Newtown Saturday with no official events scheduled. First Selectman Pat Llorda asked people to perform acts of kindness to remember the victims leading up to the anniversary. Residents are being asked to light a candle Dec. 14, and there will be a moment of silence at the schools.



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