By: FRED PACE, EDITOR
December 24, 2012
MADISON The recent school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, resulted in several calls from parents and grandparents of students attending schools in Boone County about safety.
Several principals indicated that some calls were received wanting to know what the school system was doing to precautions so that this type of thing would not happen at any of our schools, said Boone County School Superintendent John Hudson. They wanted to be reassured that we have safety measures in place to keep children safe.
Hudson sent out a letter to all schools, which can be found on Boone County Schools Web site at www.boonecountyboe.org, sharing with them safety information and resources available to parents, grandparents, students and educators.
We took a lot of information we have from the National Association of Schools and the West Virginia Department of Education regarding safety and ways to best approach a child after an event like this happens, Hudson said. There are tips and advice on what to look for if your child is acting out or having trouble understanding something like this.
Hudson says national statistics show that school is still one of the safest places for children to be in the day.
A few years back we used grant money to enhance security at our schools and buildings, Hudson said. By Aug. 2013, all schools will be digitally mapped on a statewide network. We also have a critical incident response guide and we train principals, teachers and staff regarding how to respond to critical events and crisis.
Schools in Boone County have buzzed systems to be able to get into the building. Sherman High School also used a grant to have a school resource officer at its school.
West Virginia public schools began the process back in 2001 and 2002, and our states counties have been in the forefront of developing plan to respond to crisis events, he said. Training with employees, teachers, principals, and red code drills are all part of it. We are always performing reviews with schools for improving safety and keep our staff on heightened awareness so we remain vigilant.
Honoring Connecticut Gov. Malloy's request, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin asked all West Virginians to observe a moment of silence Friday, December 21, 2012, beginning at 9:30 a.m. to honor the memory of those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Churches and government buildings, with the capability, have been asked to ring their bells 26 times in memory of each victim.
"I spoke to Connecticut Governor Malloy and told him people across our state are praying for the families and friends of those affected by last week's terrible events," Gov. Tomblin said. "While we can't begin to understand their pain, we hope they find comfort in the very difficult days ahead. I ask West Virginians to continue to keep the families in your thoughts and prayers and observe a moment of silence on Friday morning at 9:30."
Last week, Gov. Malloy declared a Day of Mourning and requested a moment of silence be observed. He also asked places of worship and government buildings, with the capability, ring their bells 26 times in honor of each life taken too soon from Sandy Hook Elementary School.