Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

December 18, 2012

District reassures parents, reviews current practices

By Brenda L. Holmes
CNHI

INDIANAPOLIS — The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has once again alarmed parents and school officials across the nation.

On Dec. 14, suspect Adam Lanza, 20, entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School where he shot and killed 20 students and six educators.

 Following the tragic incident, administrators with the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township were among those across the country spurred to action.

“We sent out a message on Friday letting people know what we’re already doing as far as security,” said Mary Lang, chief communications officer for the district. “We’re also continuing to communicate with our students to let an adult know when they see anything of concern. We, like every other district, are once again looking at the way we do things to see if we should be doing something differently.”

Lang said the district received REMS grant funds to help implement better security.

“REMS stands for Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools,” she said. “These grants helped us to formulate and easily disseminate information to the staff in a situation.”

The district also employees six people whose responsibility is security for the corporation.

“We also utilize off duty police officers from Speedway, IMPD, and the sheriff’s department for events when we feel we need extra security,” Lang said. “And we have a plan in place for what to do.

“We have drills with the administration, staff, and kids. We hold intruder drills, much like you do a tornado drill.”

She said the tone of district employees and students is one of disbelief. On Monday, three days after the shooting, the staff and students returned to class.

“We didn’t send anything formal out to teachers, but I’m sure they are ready to answer questions,” Lang said. “There’s a lot of processing going on for our students.

“For me, as a parent and one who works in a school district, there are no words to describe how it’s made me feel. We’ve shared as much regarding the shooting personally as we have professionally.”

The Newtown Public Schools website has announced that the district is closed. Those who would like to make a donation to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund may do so by visiting the website at Newtown.uwwesternct.org. Checks may be mailed to SandyHook School Support Fund, c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main St., Newtown, CT 06470.

brenda.holmes@flyergroup.com