It’s impossible to come up with much of anything consoling to say about the horrendous event last Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Such bloodshed is a nightmare and strikes fear into the hearts of all rational, civilized people. And yet the world has in it evil and uncontrolled and inexplicable forces of evil. While no one can ever be absolutely “safe,” we will do all we can to provide security for all children and adults in our schools.
As soon as we heard about the event here in Belmont, I made rounds to all six schools, conferred with our principals, and determined they should issue messages to parents and students because of the credibility the principals have long earned. My formal statement about Belmont’s school security follows:
In light of recent events, all of us in the Belmont Public Schools have increased concern and regard for the safety of the students and adults working in our buildings. We do not discuss publicly our safety protocols or interventions because someone who might have ill intent could misuse such information. However, I do want to assure the public that we have heightened our vigilance, conferred with public safety officials, continually review our drills and procedures, and are doing all we can within our power to make sure our schools are as safe as possible.
The Newtown, Connecticut, catastrophe is beyond comprehension, and the major media attention given the event only reminds us how vulnerable we can be. Nonetheless, schools still remain among the safest places for children to be. Our concern for security will remain unflagging. We will continue to review our systems, buildings, and practices. In the forthcoming months, after a short period to diminish any anxiety children might feel, we will resume the practice of drills and sheltering exercises.
In the meantime, we encourage parents to be sensitive to children’s concerns and to alert school personnel if they have any worries or observations to offer.