As the first and youngest victims of the Connecticut school shooting massacre were being laid to rest Monday the Tredyffrin Easttown School District was taking steps to reassure students and parents that kids are safe in T/E schools.
Tredyffrin and Easttown Police are both increasing police presence in and outside the district's schools. The district administration is also working with both police departments to review standard operating safety procedures as well as emergency procedures.
There were no reports of any problems in T/E schools on Monday.
The following letter was sent home with every T/E student Monday and is also posted on the district's website.
Dear T/E Parents and Guardians,
School violence in our country touches all of us. Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut evokes sorrow and disbelief. Our thoughts remain with the entire Newtown community as they deal with this tragedy.
Immediately upon learning about the incident at Sandy Hook, principals were contacted to ensure everyone was aware of the situation and had staff in place to respond to questions and concerns at the building level. Since Friday, the District has implemented elements of its response plan, including the following:
- Counselors are available to students should they have needs in processing the events of this tragedy.
- Principals have reviewed with the staff techniques to discuss Friday’s events in an age-appropriate manner.
- School officials have talked with Tredyffrin Township’s Superintendent of Police Anthony Giaimo and Easttown Township’s Chief of Police David Obzud to increase police visibility in school parking lots in the coming days and to review existing school security plans.
- Principals have reviewed emergency response procedures with all staff members.District officials have notified the public of District actions via the TESD website.
- District staff have posted web resources for parents regarding the support of their children.
Ongoing procedures are in place to promote safe schools including these measures:
- All school doors are locked following the arrival of students with the exception of the main entrances, which are staffed by lobby monitors. This entrance procedure is reviewed by the District Safety Committee.
- Any visitor entering a T/E School must have a legitimate reason for visiting and must register with the office or lobby monitor and be required to wear a visitor’s badge while in the building.
- Staff members in all schools are instructed to alert the office in the event of unusual or suspicious circumstances.
- The T/E School District has a collaborative relationship with local police who are readily available in the event of an emergency. The police review school emergency plans and conduct drills on a regular basis.
- Staff and students practice emergency evacuation and lockdown procedures at regular intervals.
The District’s safety protocols are regularly reviewed by the District’s Safety Committee. The Committee is comprised of District and community members including police representation from both townships. An Emergency Response Plan has been developed by the Committee and disseminated to all staff members for implementation. The District has been advised by police authorities to refrain from making the details of the plan public for security reasons. General elements of the plan include the following:
- Building evacuation drill procedures
- Lockdown drill procedures
- Bus evacuation drills
- A plan for sequestering students in the school buildings or another safe place
- A communications system to notify parents of the evacuation of students and to alert the whole school community when required
- Instruction of students in emergency preparedness
- An emergency notification system for staff to make appropriate administrative personnel aware of any emergency
- On-going collaboration with local agencies, such as the police department, fire department and emergency management agencies to review and update existing plans
- Instruction of staff members in the techniques for handling emergencies
The District website has a link on the home page for assisting parents on how to talk to children about tragic events. In January, the District Safety Committee will review the safety plan and make modifications, if required. In addition, the District will continue to meet with local police and emergency officials to solicit input on safety procedures and to implement recommended enhancements.
In the meantime, children need stability. Research advises that the maintenance of routine conveys to students a sense of safety and security. Tragedies such as the events in Newtown strike at the core of the entire community. As always we value our partnership with you. Together we can continue to reassure your children that plans for their safety and security are in place at school.
Superintendent of Schools