Parents Re-examine School Safety in Wake of Conn. Shooting
Published December 15th, 2012
GAINESVILLE - Friday's Connecticut school shooting has rattled many parents around north central Florida, as they begin to examine security measures in place at their own children's school.
Many parents expressed their concern over how an armed man was able to walk into a school so easily, and cause so much mayhem without being stopped. "It just really makes me wonder what are the real safety issues that we have in our schools," said Keisha Sumpter, a Gainesville mother with two children in public schools. "We send them there to learn. We don't send them there wondering, 'is my child going to make it home today safe'."
"The fact is that students are still safer in school than they are anywhere else, including in their own home," said Alachua County Schools spokesperson Jackie Johnson. She stressed the fact that events like these are rare. Yet, in the off-chance they do happen, she says the district is more than ready to handle it.
"We have a crisis management plan in place for every single one of our schools, and it's customized to that school," said Johnson. "It takes into account the grade levels of the students, the geography of the school, the layout of the school, and we develop those in conjunction with law enforcement."
Giving further comfort to parents, Gainesville police say they plan on beefing up their presence at schools next week. "In all likelihood, we're going to be at most of the schools, when parents show up to drop their kids off for school and when they pick them up," said Lt. Will Halvosa of the Gainesville Police Department.
Meantime, Dr. Ernest Bordini, a clinical psychologist, says it's important for parents to reassure their kids that they are safe in school, and to address the matter in a calm and and collected manner, so that a parent's anxiety is not transferred to their kids.
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