Safety Review Underway for Local Schools

December 17, 2012

Many parents are questioning their own child's safety at school, following the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

"I'm a parent, I have to children you attend school in Albemarle County and I have to say I definitely understand the worries of our parents," said Dr. Matthew Haas, the assistant superintendent for Albemarle County schools. "We are making every effort as we can to always make sure we make our schools as safe as we can."

Officials with Albemarle and Charlottesville City Schools say many security measures are already in place, including locked doors at all times, check in points for school building visitors, school resource officers positioned at each high school, and emergency communication systems. But officials agree more can be done.

"We all have crisis plans and on Friday we pulled out those plans and reviewed them and continue to review them today," said Dr. Rosa Atkins, superintendent for Charlottesville City Schools. "We will have some community meetings to talk about those plans."

Both districts are engaged in a partnership with Safe Schools, Healthy Students and are in the process of scheduling a safety forum. Officials want to hear feedback and suggestions from parents and local law enforcement officers as they continue to evaluate and improve the safety plans already in place.

In the meantime, Haas says the best thing parents can do is talk to their children. "The best thing you can do is listen to their concerns and try to do the best you can to reassure them school is a safe place."

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