By NEESEY PAYNE
Just like April 16, 2007 – the day of the Virginia Tech massacre – Dec. 14, 2012 will be a day Americans will never forget.
The massive killing of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School hits close to home to those of all ages. As the Newtown, Conn. community grieves – Americans across the country are mourning, too.
Monday morning as parents sent their kids to school and teachers, faculty and staff prepared for the day, the question of “What if?” was on everyone’s mind.
The best way to combat the “what ifs” is to be prepared.
Pulaski County Public Schools is doing everything it can to ensure the county’s schools are safe and secure.
In 2010, the school system was awarded a Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grant, which has aided the school system in training and planning for various emergencies.
“This grant has allowed Pulaski County Public Schools … to update and align district and school level emergency plans with training and templates provided by Safe Havens International, an internationally recognized, non-profit school safety center. Administrators and key personnel have received training in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Incident Management System, which allows us to work in harmony with our first responders in the event of an emergency,” said a release issued by Pulaski County Public Schools.
Over the weekend, Dr. Thomas Brewster, superintendent, sent an email to leaders in the school system regarding general safety and security precautions.
Counselors were also available Monday to assist students.
Snowville Elementary School Guidance Counselor Meghan Fisher said there weren’t any students at Snowville Elementary who needed to talk about Friday’s events. She said staff was going to meet that afternoon to go over the school system’s crisis plan.
Law enforcement officials from Pulaski Police Department, Pulaski Sheriff’s Department, Dublin Police Department and State Police were visible at the schools, as well.
Brewster said a security and budget priority meeting was held yesterday to make sure all the necessary precautions are put in place and enough money is budgeted to “ensure our schools are as safe as they can be.”
According to the press release, “Employees have received training in building safety assessment, threat assessment, first aid and other related issues. Teachers and students currently implement several updated drill routines to familiarize themselves with emergency protocols. Trainings and drills will continue throughout the spring and summer of 2013.”
Brewster thanks members of law enforcement and New River Valley Community Services for their “outstanding support.”