Brighton Superintendent: District Consistently Discusses Safety and Security
Brighton Schools security measures are in line with state mandates; will improve with bond construction this summer, according to Superintendent Greg Gray.
Brighton Area Schools have always had ongoing discussions about safety within the district, but the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has raised the level of intensity, according to Superintendent Greg Gray.
"We have a police liaison officer, who's a resource for us," Gray said. about safety discussions between administrators and staff. "We have had discussions, we presently have discussions and we'll continue to have discussions."
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan released a video Tuesday addressing the tragedy in Newtown on Dec. 14, saying emergency preparedness helped save lives.
"We're hearing tales of tremendous bravery by those teachers and also by many of the young students themselves at that school," Flanagan said. "Their thoughts were not of themselves but the safety of all the children in those classrooms. If not for their emergency plans that they practiced and then their own heroism, many more children would have been killed. That's why I appreciate so much that our schools practice their plans. They have them in place. They practice their drills."
Flanagan said the state board sent out helpful resources on how to prepare for and recover from a crisis to local superintendents and principals.
Gray said Brighton Area School safety policies are in alignment with the state's security plans and that the shooting on Friday has raised awareness of being vigilant and manning those policies.
Part of those policies include practicing fire, tornado and lockdown drills throughout the year. Gray said the district adheres to the number mandated by the state.
"We break them up throughout the year and practice them in many different ways so they're not all the same," Gray said.
If a crisis were to occur at one of the schools in the district, parents would most likely be notified through the email mass communication system, Gray said. The district does not currently have reverse 911 call capabilities, but it will become available with the new equipment going in as part of the bond project.
In addition, the bond project will also install 450 new cameras in and around schools throughout the district. The police liaison officer will monitor cameras in Brighton High School, while other cameras will be monitored if an issue arises, Gray said.
The bond project will also install security vestibules in all schools.
"After the beginning of the school day, the doors are locked and it (vestibule) funnels people into the main office so they don't have direct access to the building," Gray said.
In the case of Hilton Elementary, the school board will have a decision to make, since a classroom sits before the office after entering through the main entrance doors.
Gray said there's an option of creating a divided entrance vestibule that will funnel people to the left side of the hallway and into the office or of moving the main office to the other side of the building.
All of the security upgrades will be completed during the summer of 2013.
"Our hearts go out to them - those parents, kids, staff members and the community," Gray said. "We'll do everything in our power to make sure it doesn't happen here."
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