Some great conversations have taken place over the past two months with students and staff coming up with new ideas to keep people safe in the buildings, according to Superintendent Ann Marie Dargon.
WESTPORT – The Parkland, Florida, school shooting is still in the minds of school personnel and students.
As a result, some great conversations have taken place over the past two months with students and staff coming up with new ideas to keep people safe in the buildings, according to Superintendent Ann Marie Dargon.
The School Committee discussed some of the strides being made in the district and some of the new ideas.
“We have done so much behind the scenes,” Dargon said. “Great ideas were generated and we are grateful for the collegiality. It is the first time in five years that all department heads came together in one room.”
Committee member Mark Carney said many town representatives have met, including fire and police personnel, school nurses and others.
Carney said action items were discussed that the schools can “do relatively quickly and easily.”
Among those ideas are a first aid kit that will go in an emergency “go bucket.” Dargon said many of the victims in the Parkland shooting bled to death and it is imperative that the school is well stocked with first aid kits. These buckets and students will be provided with an evacuation map and teachers are all being charged with coming up with a lesson plan on school safety in the event of a shooter or intruder.
Facilities Director Michael Duarte also met with Building Inspector Ralph Souza and Fire Chief Brian Legendre, who came up with a novel idea in the event that the fire alarm sounds.
They mentioned that there should be a pause by students and staff to consider the source behind the fire alarm and the exit the building. People are often trained to evacuate immediately when the fire alarm sounds.
But, in Parkland, the fire alarm was pulled and that led to more issues, as there was no fire but an active shooter.
“Use your common sense and use your best judgement,” said Dargon, summarizing the new theme.
Students are also being trained to be more alert and vigilant and to report any issues to staff members. Meanwhile, some high school students are volunteering to step up and help staff to create a safer environment
Dargon said that between now and June, the police department is also using the shuttered middle school for training.
School security cameras are also being reviewed, Dargon said.
Recently elected School Committee member Nancy Stanton-Cross noted that while she was campaigning, school safety was a topic that often came up among parents.
In other school news, high school assistant principal Ryan Andrade recently announced that he will be resigning after this school year. Andrade, who oversaw the junior high school levels of the 7 through 12 school, will be taking a job in Berkley next year.