School Districts Review Safety Procedures In Light of Newtown Tragedy

School Districts Review Safety Procedures In Light of Newtown Tragedy

School security is always an issue on parents' minds, but come the Monday after tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, it's at the forefront for many as districts review their policies and protocols.
While hearts are heavy in the wake of the Newtown massacre, for most of the young students at Wylie Elementary -- it's just another day.

Another day of reading, writing and preparing for their highly-anticipated winter vacation.

For parents, it's a different story, as concerns about school security and their children's safety hit an all-time high.

"You do love them a little more and hug them a little more," said Robin McPherson, counselor at Wylie Elementary.

That's also why for 2nd grade teacher Julie Humecki, the tragedy serves as both a learning -- and teaching -- experience.

"You can usually gauge kids concerns by what they're expressing, whether it's with their words or with their actions," she explained.

Monday morning, several students in her classroom used their words to ask about what happened in Newtown, and ask what's on the minds of many -- "Could it happen here?"

"Most of them said, 'We know what to do if someone comes into our classroom' and I think that was reassuring to a lot of them," Humecki said.

Mrs. Humecki and her kids even practiced a quick lockdown drill in case of an intruder after their discussion, turning off the lights and hiding in a bathroom inside the classroom.

Down the hall and inside Elsje Hutson's first grade classroom sits a packet, given to every single teacher in the Wylie school district at the beginning of the year.

Inside it, a class roster, a flashlight, and steps to keep kids safe in case of an emergency.

"I'm a parent too, and I do know anytime you drop your kids off at school, you expect them to be safe," Hutson said.

Out of her 12 students -- eight came in with questions Monday morning about the tragedy that unfolded 1,800 miles away.

"I told them I was basically trained in how to keep them safe in three circumstances -- fires, bad weather and intruders," Hutson said "That seemed to help and make them feel more comfortable and more calm."

With doors that are always kept locked, mandatory check-ins for visitors and a plan securely in place, another Monday rushes by at Wylie Elementary.

Though this time, it's with a closer eye on those procedures and protocols we all know so well.

Wylie ISD, like other districts across the state, goes through an audit each year, when an outside set of eyes comes in to review the school's security measures.

The district also plans to do another campus-wide lockdown drill at schools in the spring.
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