In the wake of Friday's mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., North Hills Superintendent Dr. Patrick J. Mannarino has issued a second letter to parents and guardians to outline the actions the district is taking to keep schools safe.
Dear North Hills Parents/Guardians,
The tragic events that have occurred in Connecticut serve as a stark reminder that America’s schools are not immune to violence. On behalf of North Hills School District, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, faculty and staff that have been touched by this tragedy that claimed so many lives in Connecticut.
At North Hills School District, we remain vigilant in our commitment to safety and security, and we want to make you aware of all we are doing to provide a safe, educational environment in each of our schools.
We operate under a districtwide, comprehensive safety plan that is updated annually by members of the district safety team, who meet on a consistent basis. In line with this comprehensive plan, we regularly practice our safety procedures through discussions and drills with students and staff. All district schools are locked through the school day, and we require visitors to use a monitored buzzer system to gain entry. Visitors and parents are allowed in our buildings only if they have an appointment or previously scheduled event. Once inside, all parents and visitors must sign in at the school office, where they are issued a visitor’s badge.
These are just some of the procedures we have in place to help ensure student safety and security. Though we are confident in our safety plan, district staff and administrators will be reviewing it in the coming weeks to see if any improvements can be made to our already extensive safety and security procedures. Additionally, we have requested increased police presence near each of our school campuses. This is not meant to alarm, but rather to reassure you of our commitment to student and staff safety as well as demonstrate our ongoing partnership with local law enforcement.
We have briefed our teachers on how to handle discussing the recent tragedy with students including how to respond to inquiries. As a district, we do not plan on formally discussing Friday’s events with students, but counselors are available to speak with any child who may have questions. We also have posted materials online to assist you in speaking with your child about the tragic event. These materials can be found at the bottom of this news post. (see attached .pdfs)
Our first priority, as always, remains the safety and welfare of our students and staff. While no amount of planning can guarantee that a tragedy such as this will not occur, we are doing everything we know to keep students and staff safe while at school. We thank you for your cooperation in these efforts as we rely on you to help enforce our own safety and security procedures.
Dr. Patrick J. Mannarino