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Local News -

December 18, 2012

Area schools prepared to cope with shooting


Lisa Nowak was picking up her two boys, one in second grade and one in kindergarten. Having seen the recent lockdown drill, she thinks the principal does a good job in maintaining safety, she said.

Don Beers has a son in second grade.

“It makes you look at things differently,” he said. His son normally walks from the parking lot in the morning by himself. “This morning it made me feel a little safer to walk him in.” He will probably do that the rest of the week.

School PTO secretary Sallie Han said by email that her kindergartner did not seem to understand what happened in Connecticut, but her third-grader remembered a recent lockdown at the school.

“I think we grown-ups are living harder with this than the kids are,” she said, “and that is as it should be.”

Oneonta City School District Interim Superintendent David Rowley said he spoke to some elementary school parents Monday and assured them that safety procedures are in place to deal with similar situations. On Monday there were counselors available to talk with students — a typical response to an emergency — but there were few student issues, he said. Principals are reviewing their safety plans, and he is talking with appropriate school safety officials to see what else can be done. As more information becomes available adjustments could be made, he said.

At Morris Central School, Superintendent Matthew Sheldon said the necessary resources are available if needed, including a social worker and psychologist. In a Monday morning email to staff, he said: “Even though it may be difficult, it is important that we, as adults, provide a sense of normalcy and safety for our students.” The message also provided several websites for information about helping children handle such issues.

On Monday afternoon he said with the exception of some questions from one first-grade class: “students weren’t talking that much about it.” The school is reviewing safety measures to assure that “we have done everything to take care of students’ safety.”

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