Metro examines school security in wake of Newtown tragedy

Metro examines school security in wake of Newtown tragedy (Image 1)

Students in Davidson County returned to school Monday, three days after Friday's unthinkable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

With heavy hearts, they thought about the safety of their own schools, many for the first time.

“When I first heard about it I was really shocked and I was so sad,” said a student at McGavock High School in Nashville, more than 1,000 miles from Newtown where a gunman shot and killed 26 people including 20 first graders.

“Why would someone do that to some innocent kids?” asked student Ulises Galvan, a question that will likely go unanswered.

“No one knows how safe schools are,” he added.

A representative from Metro schools took to Twitter after the massacre to reassure followers about school safety.

Monday morning, Metro schools tweeted, “In light of this tragedy, we're re-examining all security measures, applying any lessons that can be learned from the events in Connecticut.”

They followed that with, “While we do not want to share all of our safeguards publicly, families with specific questions are encouraged to speak to their principals.”

Middle schools and high schools within the Metro district have school resource officers from the Metro Police Department, but only a handful of elementary schools have those officers.

Principals are reviewing their emergency plans, and students who have safety concerns are urged to notify school staff.

Counselors are also available.

As for parents and students who are still wary, Metro Schools tweeted, “Schools are often are a good place for children to regain a sense of normalcy.  Being with their friends and teachers can help.”

When asked about school security during a gathering Monday, Metro Schools' Director Dr. Jesse Register said, “I want you to know, I think our schools are safe, we are doing a lot to promote safety, but is it enough? The answer is no.”

Register added that he's renewed school security training on security measures for teachers and principals, and asked for assessment of “what else can we do?”

He also addressed the issue that developed once reports started surfacing about the psychological history of the 20-year-old Connecticut shooter.

“Given the recent happenings in Connecticut this past week, we have to look at the social, emotional development of children in our schools,” Register emphatically told the crowd.

He said the shootings should serve as a “call to do more.”

The schools director said Metro recently received a social-emotional learning grant from a private foundation that will potentially guide teachers to a better understand of students with emotional disorders.

“We can't let them fall through the cracks,” he told reporters, “it's just not all about the test scores.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s