Thursday, October 30, 2014

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Elmira/Corning

Schools review safety policies

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Schools review safety policies
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The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is every parent's, and teacher's, worst fear. The Newtown tragedy has districts reviewing their policies once again. Our Sarah Blazonis tells us why some say the plans can only help prepare for, not prevent, the worst.

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Tully Superintendent Kraig Pritts says the main goal was to make the first day back to class since the Newtown shootings as normal as possible for students.

"I had a couple students ask me about last week and we talked openly about it," said Pritts of his time greeting students as they arrived Monday morning.

A conversation is also taking place among administrators and concerned parents about keeping students safe.

Pritts says copies of Tully's revised safety procedures were just distributed, but emergency training is an ongoing process.

"We, with our administrators, have done table top drills, scenario situations with law enforcement, sometimes with fire department officials," he said.

The Fayetteville-Manlius and Liverpool districts are reviewing their procedures for gaps that could undermine safety.

"One of the protocols we have in place is all the perimeter doors have to be locked during the time that kids are in the building. Well, if one person compromises one set of doors, you might as well not have any locked doors," said Liverpool Superintendent Richard Johns.

"We know we can always get better, and we don't want to create a false sense of security. We always have to be on our toes," said Fayetteville-Manlius Superintendent Corliss Kaiser.

But districts say preventing another such attack may be impossible.

"Whether it's a school, a church, a movie theater, any group setting is subject to this sort of thing," said Kaiser. "This is why I said please know your community well. If there are mental health issues that need to be taken care of, we need to understand that."

In the meantime, districts say they'll continue to prepare as best they can.

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