The mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning horrified the nation and left parents questioning how they can protect their children.
Twenty-seven people were killed—the majority of them children between the ages of 5 and 10—at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. The violence is the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
Schools are perceived as a safe place for kids, though few have security measures in place to defend against violence like what happened at Sandy Hook School.
The school's doors are locked at 9:30 a.m., and visitors are required to sign in, according to the Sandy Hook School website. When violence erupted Friday morning, the school went on "lockdown," according to media reports. That means teachers and staff locked students inside classrooms rather than risk evacuation.
Stories of heroic teachers and school staffers at the school have emerged. One teacher locked all of her students in a closet to protect them, the Huffington Post reported.
Parents were notified by a reverse 911 call that went out to all Newtown public school families, NBC reported.
The Peninsula School District has a protocol in place for emergency situations.
Acting Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto released the following statement to parents via email and on the district website Friday afternoon:
Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the students, families and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary due to this horrible tragedy and senseless loss of life. As colleagues and educational professionals, the safety of our students and school communities is always at the forefront of our efforts.
Our District has extensive and thorough crisis response plans that address a full-range of emergency situations, including school lockdowns.
Our district and school plans have been developed in coordination with local law enforcement emergency responders and Pierce County Emergency Management. Our preparedness should be a source of reassurance to our students and families.
The District has been in contact with the Pierce County Sheriff’s office who, in a collaborative effort with the Gig Harbor Police Department, are making it a priority to have a presence near our schools, especially our elementary schools, for the remainder of the day.
It is important for our schools and staff to be knowledgeable about these plans and our schools regularly conduct drills in order to be able to respond as effectively as possible during emergencies.
The issue of school safety, particularly as it relates to a shooting such as this, is an important topic for all communities. As we have seen over the last few months, gun violence in public settings is a concern for all of us.
All of our schools are vigilant in their efforts to keep students and staff safe. In light of this tragedy, we will use the information from the situation to review our emergency response plans as well as our school security and campus visitor procedures.
Join the local discussion on Friday's tragedy with Patch:
- Connecticut School Shooting: Is Your Child Safe in the Classroom Anymore?
- Is Today Not the Day to Discuss Gun Control?
Patch was on the ground today at Sandy Hook. Read more on Newtown Patch:
- Patch Exclusive: 'It Wasn't Me' Man Named as Shooter Writes
- Report: Gunman's Mother Was Target and School's Kindergarten Teacher
- Reaction: Sandy Hook School Shooting
- Police Raid Sandy Hook Home Hours After Shooting