Summit feeling the impact of Conn. school shooting
Ryan Summerlin December 15, 2012
Even hundreds of miles away, the impact of a tragedy such as the one that unfolded at a Connecticut elementary school Friday can be felt.
“We’re still trying to get our own heads wrapped around this horrible tragedy,” said Jaimee Borger, public relations officer for the Summit School District.
School administration and faculty were aware of the news, but did not discuss it in the classrooms out of respect for students’ feelings, she said. The administration used the Summit County Alert system – a notification system that delivers alerts to cellphones and email accounts – to send a message to parents about how to speak with their children about the tragedy.
County schools all have strict safety measures in place. One of the main security features is the locked vestibules at each school. Visitors to the school must show identification, sign in on a piece of paper and be buzzed in by school staff before physically entering the school.
Campus staff members are also keeping an eye out, said Travis Avery, the district’s emergency response coordinator.
“Any time we have students outside, whether it’s drop off in the morning or recess time, lunch time and then parent pick up in the afternoon, we have staff outside the buildings,” Avery said. “Bus drivers are real good and watchful when they’ve got the kids.”
Multiple drills for various emergency situations are practiced throughout the year. Fire drills, for example, run every month in accordance with Colorado state law. Avery also works to train the teachers and other staff members. They follow a response protocol that cites four actions – lockout, lockdown, evacuate and shelter – in response to a threatening situation.
“You do the best you can, as much as you can,” Avery said. “All the staff understand that in this day and age you need to take school security seriously. … I personally feel our staff does a good job handling situations. We’re on the right track in terms of our preparedness at Summit.”