2012-12-27 / News

Superintendent briefs school board on security precautions

Crisis response team meets in wake of Newtown events

The School Committee met Dec. 20 for the final time in 2012, and discussion on the security of Jamestown’s two public schools dominated the meeting.

In the wake of the tragic events that took place earlier this month at a Connecticut elementary school, Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser said that she received a call concerning the safety of the schools. Superintendent Marcia Lukon also reported receiving a number of phone calls on the issue.

The superintendent’s report focused almost exclusively on security within the district. Given the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Lukon felt it was prudent to brief the School Committee on the local ramifications of those events.

Lukon began by explaining that teachers were unaware of the shootings until later. In response, a meeting of the crisis response team was called for the following day. Lukon expressed her admiration for the team, many of whom attended the two-hour weekend meeting on short notice. No team member was absent.

Among other actions taken, the team drafted a set response to questions to ensure all inquiries received the same information. Lukon said she also met with Jamestown police.

A calling campaign was also set to take place later that night to put out information to the community. The calls were scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. because it was early enough that adults were awake, but late enough that smaller children would be asleep. However, technical difficulties with the automated service provider delayed the beginning of the calls until 10 p.m.

Lukon said she has fielded a number of questions about Jamestown’s response plan to a shooting, but added that the information is not being made public. The reason, she said, is to prevent potential attackers from gaining valuable information.

It was stressed that administrators felt it was important that the school days remained as normal as possible.

Part-time counselors were on staggered duty throughout the week and made available for any student wishing to speak with them. While some students met with counselors, the number was lower than expected.

Thankfully, said Lukon, the majority of the student body seemed normal and focused on the upcoming holidays.

Following Lukon’s report, the committee unanimously agreed that member B.J. Whitehouse should send a letter of condolences and solidarity to the Newtown (Conn.) school board.

In other news, the School Committee decided to cancel its Jan. 3 workshop.

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