T/E Schools: Special Statement on CT Massacre

The Tredyffrin-Easttown School District is taking steps to help ease the fears and concerns of students.

Monday will be the first school day since the news broke on Friday about the school shooting massacre in Connecticut. It will also be the first time most students will be in class since learning about the attacks.

Over the weekend, the Tredyffrin Easttown School District issued the following special statement about the shooting and special services that will be avialble to students on Monday.

Special Statement Regarding Tragedy in Connecticut

The Tredyffrin/Easttown School District expresses its sorrow for all those affected by Friday's tragedy in Connecticut. The TESD community continues its commitment to student safety and our students’ needs. The District’s schools will implement its response plan to this national tragedy. On Monday, counselors will be available to students should they have needs in processing the events of this tragedy.

The National Mental Health Association has a number of suggestions and Quick Tips for Parents on how to talk to children about tragic events. These suggestions can be found by using the link below. It is important to reassure children that the adults in their lives are doing all they can to make their environment safe for them.

Such tragic events strike the core of the entire community, and the T/E School District will continue to support our students.

National Mental Health Association: Helping Children Cope with Tragedy Related Anxiety

RosiesDad December 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM
As a nation, we need to have an adult conversation not on gun control but on gun safety. And on how we deal with mental illness. Virtually every one of these mass shootings is committed by a mentally ill young man who had too easy access to guns. For the vast majority of law abiding, healthy Americans, the right to own guns is not an issue. But we need to figure out how to be safer gun owners. Some of this is an issue of legislation and we need to call our elected representatives and DEMAND that something be done now, the NRA and gun lobby be damned. What am I talking about? Licensing gun owners with a requirement that they demonstrate competence in the handling and SAFE use of their guns. Safe storage laws. Close the gun show loop hole. Tie state mental health records to the federal instacheck system. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Contact your elected representative today and every day until they do something in both Harrisburg and Washington DC. Senator Pat Toomey: (202) 224-4254 Senator Bob Casey: (202) 224-6324 Congressman Jim Gerlach: (202) 225-4315 Representative Warren Kampf: 610-251-2876 Senator Andy Dinniman: 610-692-2112
Dale Yeager December 17, 2012 at 01:00 PM
The issue is PREVENTION! TE Schools have no prevention policies or training in place http://www.seraph.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/The_State_of_School_Safety_in_American_Schools.pdf
Joann mayo December 17, 2012 at 01:40 PM
The issue here is creating a safe environment for our kids. Right now if a gunman wanted to walk into any school in our district he could do so. The front doors are wide open and many are only glass doors - very easy to get through if you have a gun... I bet Sandy Hook never thought this would happen to their sleepy little community just like we think our kids are safe because "who would ever do something like this in our community?" It is a toss of the coin where a crazy gunman will strike next - with the media coverage of this event it is only a matter of time when it will happen again - not if it will happen. Realistically, making our schools secure will most likely be our only option since gun control in this country will never happen. TE needs to secure our schools - not with promises of plans but with locks! We can still be a sleepy, close-knit community - but lets be that sleepy little community with one eye open.
RosiesDad December 17, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Sandy Hill Elementary School was locked with scan in security. Adam Lanza shot his way in past the locked door. Making our schools secure enough to withstand an armed assault is unrealistic. We need to do something else...
Pat Campbell December 17, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Schools are safer than malls or parks or your own home. We don't ever want to think safety comes from locks. TE Schools do have lockdown procedures and are as ready for an emergency as is reasonable. We need to be more alert to those in society who need help.Those are the services we need to reinforce--mental health. Resources need to be deployed proactively, not reactively. This is a tragedy, but we cannot lose sight of the role of a deranged individual who peers thought was odd all his life. His own brother was estranged from them. How do you balance security and liberty? The VA Tech shooter was identified as unstable, but as an adult, was beyond the reach (and control) of his family and school authorities. I do think every parent should,review the video games their kids play. If there is a hunting/shooting/killing component, trash it. Wevare requiring a generation of brains to get a rush from simulating murder.
Pat Campbell December 17, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Typo--we are "rewriting a generation's brains"...to get a rush from killing.
Monika Krug December 17, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Guns and Violence: The heartbreaking violence in Newtown CT is the latest in a tragic string of gun violence killing innocent victims. Gun control gets less attention than cigarettes, drugs, alcohol or contraceptives. At the 2012 democratic convention a young women demanding government-funded contraceptives had the floor at prime time, but there is no national discussion to stop gun violence. I do not know the numbers, but I guess that in 2012 gun violence killed more Americans in this country than American soldiers being killed in the war in Afghanistan. What’s wrong here? I understand that the right to bear arms is in the Constitution, but if President Lincoln had the courage to get Congress to pass the 13th Amendment to end slavery, the government today should have the guts to amend the Constitution to end the senseless gun violence. Most likely most of the guns are not bought or used in self-defense but rather for the purpose of hurting others. If the Supreme Court can take up same-sex marriage, the American people certainly deserve that the matter of gun control be submitted to the Supreme Court. I hope that the administration addresses gun violence and gun control in in this country to make the US a safer country for all. I hope that now there is a groundswell of popular support for gun control legislation that protects the American people in the 21st century. Respectfully submitted. With best wishes for a happy and safe holiday.
M Brigg December 17, 2012 at 05:29 PM
We can talk all we want about gun control but it will take years for any new restrictions to be put in place. Even if we make it harder to get a firearm, it will do nothing about the millions already in private hands. I am not against gun ownership but it is too easy to get a gun, esp at gun shows. Any adult who has a gun at home should be responsible enought to have it locked and inaccessible to kids. We can talk all we want about better mental health treatment but any changes would again take years to impliment.And there are no guarantees that those who need treatment will get it. You will have parents who will not accept the fact that their children have mental health issues, you will have adults over 18 who will refuse treatment and you will have groups like the ACLU suing to prevent treatments and institutionalization of individual whom society feels need treatment. We can talk all we want about restricting kids from watching/playing violent video games/movies/TV but its not going to happen unless you keep them under constant watch. From what I have gathered over the weekend from some news reports was a comment that the vast majority of these mass murderers were not heavily into playing violent video games. And the majority of them are over 18 so it is difficult to control what they do. So what do we do now , as odds are these type of horrific acts will likely continue to happen somewhere, sometime? How do we protect our schools? See my next post .
Marc December 17, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Monica, I couldn't agree with you more. However, your response is similar to the groundswell of discontent after every tragedy that involves guns, yet nothing changes. The NRA is too well connected and well funded. There is no lobby, organization, or movement to represent the other side that is as well supported. One fact you forgot to mention. There are more gun related deaths in the U.S. than in all of the other major countries combined.
M Brigg December 17, 2012 at 05:51 PM
So how do we protect our schools? Well the first method is to make it tougher to get into the schools. That means locked doors for all entrances/exits with only one main entrance for all visitors during school hours. Yes, I know that the CT shot his way into the school - what that means to me is you need a better lock and stronger glass at the point where you control access (please spare me the "it's too expensive argument") The second method is to have all classroom doors locked once class starts. Why is there a need to keep them open? If a gunman does break in, he will then find all the classrooms already locked down. The 3rd is controversial and that is arming some teachers who wish to be armed. While I have no problem with having teachers carry a concealed weapon (NOT left in a desk or office), I do realize that this is unpopular and unlikley. But why can't teachers carry a small pepper spray canister (again in a pocket or belt clip - not in a desk ). Take a look at the "Kimber Pepper Blaster". It is small, easily carried and very effective. Should you take a pepper sprayer to a gun fight? Not ideal but certainly better than nothing. If the principal and teacher in CT who charged the gunman ,with nothing , trying to stop him instead both fired a pepper spray weapon at him we might have had a better ending to this tragedy. There should also be canisters of bear spray in certain protected areas (prin office, main desk, custodian). Much longer effective range.
Bob Byrne (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I have spent virtually the entire day so far (it's still early) talking to security experts familiar with both national and local school and public building security. Two themes emerge and almost word for word echo each other. 1) It doesn't matter how many doors you lock, someone who is hell bent on getting into a school will find a way, especially if they are suicidal. While buildings can always be made safer and should be as secure as possible, the experts I have spoken with point out that the gunman in Connecticut shot his way into what is reported to have been a school that did everything right." The question then becomes whether we want to turn schools into fortresses and that the experts say is a public education policy question rather than a purely security issue. 2)The other thing I have heard over and over is that there is a need to look at how we as a society think of, look at, and deal with mental health issues. That same theme was brought up in a meeting between autism experts and Congressman Pat Meehan just last week. The experts who spoke to Meehan (the day before the CT shooting) pointed out that people suffering from mental illness often end up in the criminal justice system because of their behaviors, but prisons and jails are not equipped to handle or help people who could benefit most. The results can sometimes be tragic.
Marc December 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Bob, All so true and it's best to leave the solutions to the experts. But all if these issues have one other thing in common that we could control if we had the backbone and that is that they have all involved GUNS. There needs to be restrictions on gun ownership. Seems worth trying especially since nothing else seems to be working.
M Brigg December 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Bob - see my comments earlier but these security experts are overlooking the obvious: 1) $5,000 or $10,000 per school could cover stronger locks and stronger glass that at a minimim would slow an attacker down. It will be interesting to see how strong the security door really was that the CT attacker shot his way through. Can a determined attacker still fight or shoot their way in - of course!! But the idea is to slow them down. Thankfully police departments now generally enter the school immediately upon arrival in the case of a reported shooting instead of "securing the perimiter" and waiting for a swat team. Why can't classroom doors be locked when classes are in session. Is that too much "common sense " for the security experts you talk to? Again, a determined attacker can try to shot their way in but , again, this would slow them down. And finally , why can't teachers have pepper spray on a belt clip? I have hornet spray that shoots 20 feet, even a can of that in an attackers face would slow or stop them. I am afraid that all the administrators and security experts will end up telling up how we can't protect our kids instead on using a few "common sense " ideas. I would love to hear what your "experts" think of these thoughts.
M Brigg December 17, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Do you rely on a security expect to tell you to lock your house at night or lock your car in a parking lot? COMMON SENSE PEOPLE - LOCK THE CLASSROOM DOORS! you can potificate all you want about "we have to restrict gun ownership", "we have to have better mental health treatment" , we have to have better parenting" - maybe in 10 years you'll be right and these things will change. But why can't we do the simple things NOW.
Bob Byrne (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM
M- No one, including me is saying common sense security should be ignored. In fact the police and schools in T/E all take that approach with restricted access to the buildings. I merely was trying to say that - in addition to those increased security measures- the comment I heard is that even with all common sense security in place nothing is fail safe, as proven by the gunman in Newtown CT. I'm not advocating any one position over another and neither were the people I've been talking to. None spoke on the topic of mental health for attribution because it is a hot button issue and they merely wanted to point out the need to take many many factors that include but go even further than literal building security when It was more a point of saying that these are things the people I spoke with off the record this morning would like to see included as part of the national dialogue moving forward.
Pat Campbell December 18, 2012 at 04:02 AM
M -- many of your suggestions are already initiatives throughout the US. And locking your door and your car door are nothing more than a false sense of security. Life is dangerous It is not a panacea to be sure, but the fact is that 200+ million kids go to school in the US. The death of any child is criminal and tragic, but schools are NOT unsafe. Check out this link to an article outlining a dozen "mass shootings" in 2012 that did not relate to gang violence. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57559329-504083/mass-shootings-in-2012-crimesider-reports-on-this-years-public-shootings/ Schools, bars, movie theaters, malls, spas, office buildings, ....we just remember it more clearly when we see the faces of children . Common sense tells me that we need to start treating gun ownership with the same public attitudes as smoking. Somehow we have changed the culture (for now anyway) and have reduced our tolerance of smoking. WHen you know neighbors who own guns, call them on it. Ask them why and ask how securely they are maintained. Under lock and key in a home with children is a joke. Who are you protecting with firearms locked away in an attic or basement? And lock and key is a temptation to any teenager. One fact research will disclose: all these mass murder shooters are MALE. Surely we have to see something that makes that a distinguishing fact.
Joann mayo December 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
The schools do need to be locked! Having a plan for emergencies is great but the key is having time to carry it out. Slowing someone down will give teachers the time needed to implement those plans. Leaving doors open so someone can walk in unimpeded leaves no time to carry out emergency plans.


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