State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Schools reviewing policies after Newtown shootings

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 19, 2012 5:59 PM
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In the hours after the Friday morning shootings in Newtown, state Department of Education officials here in the commonwealth sent a notice to all school districts, private and public, to be aware of any suspicious behavior. From there, school districts reached out to parents.

“I can tell you personally that the district that my students, my kids attend, the district sent out text messages, sent out e-mails, and also sent out phone calls, electronic phone calls to alert parents of actions that are being taken at the local level,” said Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller, speaking of a Perry County school district.

Similar notifications were going out all across the state. Some letters to parents also offered guidelines for telling children about the school shootings. Many mentioned existing intruder drills and safety precautions, and explained that all school districts are required to have a plan for responding to various kinds of emergencies.

Eller said the shooting is also prompting some districts to revisit school-specific safety measures.

“Districts are reviewing their locked-door policies, you know, ensuring security on campus,” said Eller.

Policy changes came faster for some schools. The Associated Press reports a western Pennsylvania school district received an expedited court order to arm its school police officers over the weekend after the Connecticut school shooting.

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