Newtown tragedy brings safety plans into focus for Columbia Schools

Dec 14, 2012

School playground shadow
Credit / Dreamstime

Following today’s fatal school shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Columbia Public Schools administrators have spent the day discussing safety strategies and offering assurance to principals, educators and parents.

Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark called today’s incident a “nightmare” – but one that schools have to prepare for: "You know we really hope that we never ever have to use the emergency plans, but it is important to have those in place."

Baumstark says strategies the district has implemented include active shooter training, lockdown drills, and a parent one-call system for communications in this type of event.

Baumstark says it’s important for parents and educators to keep a look out for signs and symptoms that children may be struggling with the news: "When something like this happens, it’s very easy to forget about how children cope with things. So you may things like changes in their behavior, you may see questions that they ask over and over again. Remembering previous types of experiences that they’ve heard about, that they may have questions about. So just kind of giving them some advice about how to deal with those behaviors, as with any traumatic situation."

Columbia Public Schools administrators have sent home information tonight for parents with advice on how to address the tragedy with school-aged children.