Local Schools React to Connecticut Shootings

Education leaders reviewing safety procedures

Friday, Dec 14, 2012  |  Updated 6:13 PM CDT
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Northwestern psychologist says parents need to keep their fears in check and reassure children.

Northwestern psychologist says parents need to keep their fears in check and reassure children.

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The Newtown, Connecticut school shootings has left other school districts all over the country thinking the worst -- what if it happened here?

Deerfield Public Schools District 109 leaders sent a note to parents and staff Friday to reiterate that safety plans are in place.

The Deerfield Police Department stepped up patrols around schools, but officials stressed there was no need for alarm and no immediate threat related to the Connecticut shootings.

Chicago Public Schools chief safety and security officer Jadine Chou sent a letter to principals Friday to remind them of the already-developed plans in place for the response and prevention of a similar situation.

Each school was urged to review and refresh their individual emergency management plans, review and/or perform emergency drills and remind staff of standard safety protocol such as securing exterior doors at all times, and enforcing the wearing of valid CPS ID cards and school sign-in procedures.

Each school is also equipped with a crisis manual that helps identify individuals who may be on the verge of violence.

"We send our kids to school and we think they're going to be protected. We don't think anyone's going to walk in and start shooting our kids up," parent Badza Ramirez said. br />
Chicago's Francis W. Parker school posted a message from its principal on its Web site saying in part, "our counselors and parents are prepared to hold conversations with students who may need to talk about their own reactions or questions about this tragic incident."

Cook County Department of Homeland Security executive director Mike Masters recently co-ordinated training in case a similar incident were to happen here.

"Men and women are going to be walking into these situations responding directly to those 911 calls, and of course the preparation we do for our residents, that if they see something, to say something," Masters said.

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