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CT School Shooting: Could It Happen Here?

Police say a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killed 27 people, including 20 children. See what the Cherokee County School District has in place to prevent such tragedies.

 

A shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning left 27 people dead, including 20 children and six adults according to news reports. 

The Associated Press is reporting law enforcement officials have identified the shooter as Adam Lanza, 20. Lanza's mother taught kindergarten at the school and he allegedly shot and killed her before fatally shooting others. 

Newtown Patch reported that the gunman visited his family home in New Jersey before driving to the school. Lanza died at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Check Newtown Patch for updates in the school shooting throughout the day.

Patch has reached out to the Cherokee County School district to see what policies and measures are in place to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring here.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo "extends his heartfelt condolences to the community of Newtown, Conn. following this morning’s school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School," the district said in a statement.

"This was a horrific crime committed against the students, families and staff of that school; and, one which is simply indescribable in terms of an unwarranted wrong perpetrated against others," Petruzielo added. 

The superintendent noted CCSD's top priority is for all children to have a "safe and secure environment for teaching and learning" and district staff routinely reviews and updates its safety and security plans to "ensure this priority is met." 

Those policies include: 

  • All CCSD schools have safety plans that are annually updated, and all meet or exceed State requirements and have been approved by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.   
  • All CCSD schools have policies requiring that all exterior doors be locked at all times except those doors that provide direct access to the front office; all practices in this regard adhere to local and State fire codes.  
  • All CCSD have Visitor Control policies that require all adults, including staff and visitors, wear ID badges at all times while on campus; all visitors are required by State law to check in at the Front Office, and all traffic into the building is monitored by staff.  
  • All CCSD schools have intrusion alarm systems that are monitored 24 hours a day.  
  • All CCSD middle and high schools and more than half of all elementary schools, including all new construction, have digital, closed-circuit camera systems.   
  • All CCSD schools are served by the CCSD Police Department, which provides POST-certified, armed officers for each Innovation Zone. 
  • All CCSD schools, including administrators, teachers, support staff and students annually practice Code Red drills that include response to an intruder/suspicious person on campus. 
  • The School District maintains a District Emergency Response Team and Plan, which includes a student-parent/guardian reunification plan and regular drills at the reunification site.

What do you think? What can be done to prevent a tragedy like this? Tell us in the comments! 

C'mon Man.... December 15, 2012 at 12:10 AM
All exterior doors are required to be locked except those that have direct access to the front office? How do the children that have classes is the trailers access the main building? Do they all go through the front office when they go to lunch, the media center, the bathroom, gym??
Michelle Suzal-George December 15, 2012 at 12:50 AM
What are the "innovation zones" referenced? Why are there not armed officers posted at each school? Is it a staffing issue? If so, can we utilize the reserve CCSO officers to staff schools? I realize it may sound a little over the top, but these are the times we're living in, it seems.
Kristal Dixon (Editor) December 15, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Innovation zones are the zones in which all the elementary and middle schools feed into each of the county's traditional high schools.
Terry Tucker December 15, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Students / teachers use the unlocked door near the portables to enter the school.
C'mon Man.... December 15, 2012 at 06:49 PM
So all exterior doors leading into the school are not locked; as stated by CCSD, thus granting free access to anyone who walks up and opens the door. So in my opinion, No CCSD is NOT protecting our kids. What CCSD has "in place" and what they "enforce" could prevent a tragedy from happening in our own backyards.
Gia nichols December 15, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Install metal detectors... We need them , obviously !!!! Once they get in that door with a gun it dosent matter what the procedures are .. Their not going to check in at the front office now r they. I have walked in my kids school and no one is in the front office at all due to staff cuts.
Monty Brewster December 16, 2012 at 01:42 AM
C'mon Man... - what do you suggest? double barbed wire fences surrounding the campus with snipers on the roof? If a perp wants to get in to a school... or a house, or a bank... they will find a way in. And if they can't get in... you might get a situation like the kids a few years ago that called in a bomb threat and were waiting to ambush students as they were led outside. Unfortunately, there are psychotic people in this world and nothing short of a complete lock down during school hours would even have a chance of slowing someone like this down.
Local Mom December 16, 2012 at 01:13 PM
It is VERY easy to walk in to any of our local schools and wander around. You are "required to check in at the office", but if you dont and know where you are going or at least act like you do, its a piece of cake. Try it. Test the "procedure". All the drills work fine, but in a real situation....im not so sure if it all would go as smoothly as stated.
Kristal Dixon (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Gia, I've actually visited nearly every CCSD school and there has always been someone working in the front office.
C'mon Man.... December 17, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Wow Monty.... I was just commenting on the article. In MY opinion CCSD is not protecting the children OR even the parents that volunteer their time at the school. How can CCSD tell parents there are procedures in place that require ALL exterior doors to be locked, when in FACT the doors are NOT locked? Don't give parents/children false sense of security when there isn't anything being done to ENFORCE what policies CCSD say they have in place.

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