GRAFTON,Mass.—Superintendent of Schools James E. Cummings said all school properties will improve their safety program in reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
On Friday afternoon Adam Lanza, 20, breached security at the Connecticut elementary school and gunned down 20 students ages 6 and 7, plus six school staff.
On Monday morning, teachers and administrators from each Grafton public school building met to discuss their existing safety protocol and how they can improve it.
“We will have more discussion, more awareness, and stress the importance of training staff, students and communicating things that seem out of place,” said Cummings.
In a newsletter to parents sent Monday, Cummings said all the school buildings have a comprehensive safety and emergency plan in place.
“At each of our schools we have locked facilities, each with buzzer entry systems. The police do a very good job in working with the schools already, but they will be even more visible this week.”
But Cummings also said the schools could do more to protect each child inside.
“An assessment of our existing security measures and opportunities for improvement is taking place right now,” he said in the newsletter. “We are working with the police department to assess our existing strengths and needs.”
Sunday night President Barack Obama said, in a nationally televised speech from Newtown, Conn., that he promised to do what he can from a federal level. “These tragedies must end,” he said adding more must be done to protect school children and that the country failed to protect their young.
Cummings said the school system can do more with locks, school ground awareness, and video as well as establishing better communication between students, teachers and administrators.
A locksmith will be visiting each building to assess the cost of installing classroom door locks that can be locked from the inside.* The schools will also institute new sign in procedures for visitors.
Cummings has also been in touch with Grafton Police Chief Normand A. Crepeau to assess each building’s strengths and weaknesses.
Cummings also reported that grief counselors are available “on call” as needed to students, parents, or teachers. He said a more explicit conversation will occur on the higher grade levels. On the lower grade levels, the support will be more implicit, designed for those students who possess a greater awareness of what happened on Friday.
*Note: This story has been updated from the initial post to clarify that the locks are not deadbolts.