District 158 Superintendent Dr. John Burkey wrote about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., Friday that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, both teachers and administrators on the district’s blog Monday.
Burkey’s blogs reads as follows:
As we are now in the holiday season, this should be nothing but a joyous time. Unfortunately, because of the shootings in Connecticut on Friday, our holiday joy is marred by this tragic and senseless act.
Unfortunately, in the recent past, public bashing of educators has become more prevalent in many sectors of our society. An event like this vividly illustrates that educators are not only professionals every day, but also heroes under the worst of circumstances. Educators at Sandy Hook gave up their own lives in order to save their young students. There could be no more supreme sacrifice.
In light of this terrible incident, I want to assure you that school safety has always been a paramount concern of our district. As you know, during the school day, visitors must check in through our offices before being let through the secure doors to the building. We also practice lock-down procedures with students and staff. These are vitally important, and when done properly, a lock-down can limit an intruder’s access to students and staff. District 158 also works very closely with the police departments in our school district, and we regularly discuss and practice procedures for an intruder incident. As in the case of major incidents such as Sandy Hook, we study the incident and review our procedures to learn if anything can be done better. I have two children of my own in our district and would never put them in a setting that I did not feel was safe.
While Sandy Hook is at the forefront of our minds right now, we must remember that senseless acts of violence occur in many sectors of our society. Teachers and students are safer in school than they are in most other places. We also have to remember that security must be balanced with the open nature of our public schools. We do not want to become a fortress, or to prevent parents and other approved visitors from being welcome in our schools.
I truly wish each of you a blessed holiday season. Take this opportunity to hug your children a little tighter this season. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Sandy Brook School community.