- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Local schools returned to class and to normalcy Monday, but administrators and teachers were prepared to deal with student questions and concerns following the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Friday in which 20 children and six adults from Sandy Hook Elementary School were killed.
Local school districts sent out One Call messages over the weekend to reassure parents about school safety procedures and to make parents aware of counseling services available to students.
John Wright, community relations director for Hardin County Schools, said school officials weren’t planning to address the subject with their students because of all of the information they’ve likely already absorbed, but they were ready in the case of a child wanting to discuss it.
“We have to be prepared to talk about this,” Wright said.
The counselors are available for the staff as well, he said.
“They are as affected as the students are,” he said.
Gary French, superintendent for Elizabethtown Independent Schools, said the district had a normal day Monday. A meeting planned for the morning gave administrators an opportunity to address related topics such as school safety plans.
Both districts have emergency procedure guides that include plans for issues ranging from power outages to intruders in the school. The districts’ lockdown plans detail how the buildings should be secured and how to keep students and staff as safe as possible.
French said they review the plan when needed, and Wright said HCS officials already had been in discussions about safety concerns in the district. Friday’s shooting has given them new cause to continue addressing it.
“Are we looking at it even deeper? Yes,” he said.
Schools built within the last several years are constructed in a way that doesn’t allow visitors to enter the building without going through the school’s office first. Many older buildings have constructed new entrances to give them that same protection. T.K. Stone Middle School and Central Hardin High School are two schools that recently made such adjustments to their buildings.
Jennifer Lewis, principal of Lincoln Trail Elementary School, said in an email that parents seemed to have answered any questions the students might have had, but she said she heard from some concerned parents Monday. The Lincoln Trail staff met Friday and again Monday to review safety procedures.
Michelle Hart, principal at Helmwood Heights Elementary School, said she and her staff didn’t want to deviate from the school’s routine.
“We are trying to keep things as normal as possible,” Hart said.
Radcliff Elementary School planned a moment of silence at its holiday program Monday, Principal Joan Cooke said in an email. She also placed a small ribbon on each of the classroom doors, “mostly to remind teachers they weren’t alone,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at |(270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.