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District Taking Steps to Ensure School Safety in Wake of CT Tragedy

Superintendent Brian Betze said the district will review its safety protocols to ensure its schools are as safe as possible in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shootings.

In the wake of Friday’s tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, administrators in the Moorestown School District are doing what they can to ensure the community their school is safe.

Superintendent Brian Betze said he met with Bryan Wright, a Moorestown police officer who functions as the district’s safety officer, and discussed reviewing the district’s security plan in the coming weeks and months.

Betze said the plan is evaluated every school year, but has not been examined yet this year.

“Because of what happened (in Connecticut), we need to do it,” the superintendent explained.

Among the measures Betze said he would recommend include:

  • Continuing to stress locking school doors and windows
  • Maintaining the district’s rigorous protocol for school visitors
  • Adding more security cameras (all schools are currently equipped with cameras)
  • Practicing lockdown and evacuation drills
  • Making sure police have accurate maps of every school building

 

Additionally, police will increase patrols around the schools this week as an extra precaution, the superintendent said.

“Just to show people the buildings are safe and secure,” said Betze. “I was going to ask for it, but (the police department) was already ahead of me.”

Betze said he had also put the district’s counselors on “extra alert” for any students who might come to them this week with concerns about the shooting. When reached Monday afternoon, he said he hadn’t heard about any students who had availed themselves of the counselors.

“Children are much more resilient than us adults,” he said.

Nahid Ahmad said her 12-year-old daughter, Sarah, a student at theUpper Elementary School (UES), created about 365 blue and yellow ribbons—Sandy Hook’s school colors—over the weekend, which she hoped to give out at school as a show of support for the community in Newtown, CT.

Sarah asked to be driven to A.C. Moore to buy supplies and spent her entire weekend making the ribbons from scratch, Ahmad said, staying up late into the night to finish them.

“She said, ‘I want to do something. I feel so bad,’” said Ahmad. “She loves to help … She’s that type of girl.”

Sarah dropped the ribbons off at UES principal Susan Powell’s office Monday morning. But after conferring with Betze, Powell said they decided it was best not to distribute the ribbons.

Even though Sarah’s intentions were “more than appropriate and thoughtful and caring,” Powell said, giving out the ribbons would have drawn undue attention to the tragedy.

“We need to get the kids back to normal,” she said.

Betze elaborated: “The rule of thumb is you continue to have as normal a day as you possibly can … particularly at that age level. We have many parents who don’t want us to address that.”

Ahmad said her daughter would be disappointed, adding that she planned to talk to her when she got home from school to figure out some other way to distribute the ribbons.

To read the superintendent's letter to the Moorestown community regarding the Sandy Hook shooting, click on the attached PDF. 

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