Local school systems are working to reassure parents in the wake of a Dec. 14 school shooting that resulted in the death of 20 elementary school students in Newtown, Conn.

Messages posted on the websites of Fulton County, DeKalb County and Atlanta Public Schools say the systems are taking extra precautions and that parents shouldn’t fear sending their children to school. Read each system’s full statement, posted at the end of this article.

“In light of the tragedy in Connecticut, the DeKalb County School District has asked all school administrators and staff to review their safe school and emergency plans,” DeKalb Schools told parents in a message posted to its Facebook page. “School resource officers and campus supervisors will continue to be highly visible at their assigned schools to provide maximum security for staff and students.”

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis addressed the shootings in a letter posted on the system’s website.

“The tragedy in Newtown has raised awareness about safety and security at schools across the country,” Davis’ letter says. “Please be assured that we have comprehensive safety and security plans in place to ensure that everyone – students, educators and parents – is safe in our schools.”

Fulton County Schools says it continuously finds ways to improve its safety procedures and said statistically, a school is one of the safest places a child can be.

“The school system has increased its police presence at all schools and local police departments are also sending patrols to schools,” the District told parents via its website. “Every day, school resource officers are at every middle school, and two are located at every North Fulton high school and three are at every South Fulton high school. All officers have elementary schools as part of their assignments. In addition, the school system has close working relationships with local law enforcement agencies so that in the event of an emergency, a response can be coordinated and quickly enacted.”

Here are the full statements from each school district:

DeKalb County School District’s Response Statement to Newtown Tragedy

We join the nation in grief and mourn the loss of so many innocent lives. In light of the tragedy in Connecticut, the DeKalb County School District has asked all school administrators and staff to review their safe school and emergency plans.

School resource officers and campus supervisors will continue to be highly visible at their assigned schools to provide maximum security for staff and students. We will continue to communicate with the different police departments in the district to provide support as needed.

The safety of students, staff and visitors is our top priority in the DeKalb County School District, and we are dedicated to ensuring that our public schools remain the safest places for our most precious resources – our children.

Fulton County: School safety highlighted in aftermath of Connecticut tragedy

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Connecticut, Fulton County Schools is making sure that students, parents and staff know that they are safe within their school. While statistically a school is one of the safest places a child can be, the school district continually works to improve its safety measures so that schools can be the safest learning environments possible.

The school system has increased its police presence at all schools and local police departments are also sending patrols to schools. Every day, school resource officers are at every middle school, and two are located at every North Fulton high school and three are at every South Fulton high school. All officers have elementary schools as part of their assignments. In addition, the school system has close working relationships with local law enforcement agencies so that in the event of an emergency, a response can be coordinated and quickly enacted.

Schools also have safety plans that are regularly practiced, and these include how teachers and other staff will respond in an emergency and how parents would be reunified with their children. Each school is reviewing its safety plans again this week. The school system also has a mass notifications service that allows it to communicate quickly with parents and share critical information.

Resources and guidance have been provided to schools to help parents talk with their children about the Connecticut tragedy and school safety. Counselors also are available to any student or staff member who wants to talk to someone about their feelings.

Atlanta Public Schools

Dear APS students, parents, employees, and supporters,

This past Friday, December 14, our country experienced one of the most horrific crimes imaginable. Twenty children and seven adults were killed by a gunman who terrorized an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. We are deeply saddened by the tragedy, and on behalf of the APS community, I would like to express our most sincere condolences to the families whose lives have been changed forever.

Whenever a national tragedy occurs, our children are often confused or frightened. They rely on adults whom they know and trust for information and guidance. To help students cope with the tragedy, our schools will adhere to several guidelines. We will do the following:

• Assure students that they are safe.

• Maintain structure and stability within the school.

• Have school psychologists and/or counselors available.

• Allow time for age-appropriate classroom discussion.

• Provide an outlet for students’ desire to help.

These guidelines are aligned with recommendations offered by the National Association of School Psychologists. Please review the attached copy of A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope, which offers additional guidance and information for parents.

 

The tragedy in Newtown has raised awareness about safety and security at schools across the country. Please be assured that we have comprehensive safety and security plans in place to ensure that everyone – students, educators and parents – is safe in our schools.

 

Safety drills are performed throughout the year at schools, where school personnel, students and school detective units collaborate to improve the process. Further, we have a close working relationship with the Atlanta Police Department, and we regularly review our practices and safety protocols to lessen any risks associated withour plan.

 

While we are confident that our safety and security plan will provide a safe learning environment for all APS students, I ask all parents and community members to remain vigilant at all times; if something does not seem right, please alert the proper school officials.

 

Our students deserve schools that are free of safety and security threats. We must work together to protect our future … our children.

 

Sincerely,

 

Erroll B. Davis, Jr.

Superintendent

 

 

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