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UPDATE: Officials Meet to Discuss Safety in Stoughton Schools in Wake of Newtown School Shooting

In the wake of the tragic mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Stoughton Schools said the District Crisis Team met Sunday to review Stoughton's safety plans and procedures.

Editor's Note: Originally posted 6 a.m. on Dec. 15 and updated at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 16.

The following is a message Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of the Stoughton Public Schools sent to members of the media and a letter to parents Sunday afternoon following a meeting of the Schools' District Crisis Team. The meeting came in the wake of the Friday morning shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Adam Lanza, 20, reportedly killed his mother then 20 children and six adults at the elementary school, before killing himself.

Dr. Rizzi also issued a statement Friday evening in regards to the shooting. That statement can be found below as well.

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STATEMENT TO MEDIA (Sunday, Dec. 16)

We wish to reassure the parents of children in the Stoughton Public Schools that we are doing everything we can to keep children safe in school.  We do regular lock down drills in all of our schools, and are looking at new protocols that may be more effective in addressing life threatening incidents.  

The District Crisis Team which included Chief of Police Shastany, Officer [Roger] Hardy, and the interim Town Manager, Mr. Joseph Feaster, as well as district administrators and counseling staff, met this afternoon [Sunday] to review procedures and make sure that we had everything in place for the return of students tomorrow [Monday].

There will be a reassuring police presence during the school day at the schools this week for our holiday concert series.  

The Police Department and School District have worked together for more than a year to bring more resource officers into the schools.  We are pleased to say that one of our new resource officers will be starting after the first of the year.

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EMAIL TO PARENTS (Sunday, Dec. 16)

Dear Parents,

We are all shocked and saddened by the tragedy in Newtown on Friday.  We want to assure you that we have many things in place to keep our schools safe. 

When students come in tomorrow [Monday] in the middle and high schools they will hear a brief announcement acknowledging the incident and telling them that Monday will be a day of normal routine.  There will be no announcement in the elementary schools, but teachers will be prepared to reassure students that they are safe and acknowledge their feelings if they mention the incident.  Our counselors will be ready to address the needs of any students who are having difficulty, as they always are.

As always we are grateful for the support of the Stoughton Police Department. Chief Shastany will have a heightened police presence at the schools during our holiday concert series this week.

Our Crisis Team met today [Sunday] and we are fully prepared to deal with this incident.

Sincerely,

Marguerite C. Rizzi, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

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ORIGINAL STATEMENT (Friday, Dec. 14)

Dear Stoughton Schools Family,

The shootings today in Connecticut have hit the nation hard, and the impact is particularly hard for those of us in education who cannot help but think, "Could this happen here, to us, to our schools, to our classrooms?"  

I have already spoken to Police Chief Shastany and plan to convene the District Crisis Team as soon as possible next week.  We will review all of our plans and procedures and discuss what might be done to enhance or improve them.  

The administration has already been looking at the new ALICE protocol, which is a slightly different approach to possible life threatening incidents.  We will be considering this along with all known options during our meetings in the early part of next week.

Our staff does a good job of keeping our students safe.  We will look again at all possible tools available to further support that effort.

Thank you,

Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools

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Cindy Albert December 15, 2012 at 08:08 PM
As the parent of school aged children in Stoughton, it has always made me comfortable that you have to buzz into all the schools. However, as the parent of a Special Needs student in the town I have always had one huge problem with the security. In the summer time, when it is only the special needs students in the schools, there is NO security. NONE! People can walk in and out at their leisure. To be honest, it has always made my husband and I feel that the safety of the Special Needs children is somehow less important. The classes are four days a week from 9 - 2 for five weeks. I would think the town could have an officer stationed at the schools for those hours, have a secretary in the office, higher an outside person...something.
Theresa December 15, 2012 at 10:27 PM
I have always been concerned with the safety of our schools. My daughter goes to the West Elementary school and although you have to be buzzed into the school that wouldn't stop anyone from doing harm. My daughter's class room is right after the front door, it scares me. There are too many custody issues and crazy parents over them out there. I'm not sure what they can do, but I think more security is needed. My heart goes out to the families who lost their little boys and girls.
Seb December 18, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Until laws are heavily changed to restrict all automatic weapons, high powered rifles, and buying bullets and magazines online, schools will have to get real security just like federal building, unfortunetly. we should push for real security services like hospitals and other public institutions that have the potential for a threat. There's no doubt in my mind that security will be required in all public locations like malls, movie theaters becuase these distrurbed individuals target locations with no real security.

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