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Ossining Schools Step Up Safety Following Newtown

Ossining School District officials said Monday they would re-evaluate safety procedures following the events in Newtown, Conn.
Ossining School District officials said Monday they would re-evaluate safety procedures following the events in Newtown, Conn. Photo Credit: The Ossining Daily Voice File Photo

OSSINING, N.Y. – The Ossining School District is re-evaluating its safety procedures and coordinating with local police in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Officials with the Ossining School District sent out information to parents, held meetings with teachers and district officials, and offered grief counseling to children and members of the community Monday. The Village of Ossining Police Department added additional patrols and visits to each of the schools Monday to provide comfort to residents following the tragic shooting Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. that left 26 people dead.

Ossining Superintendent Phyllis Glassman gave a speech during a Sunday night vigil in Ossining, noting that she always believed the schools to be a scared place and the events in Newtown were a “travesty” and “a desecration of public trust.”

“Yes, our schools are safe, according to the nearly textbook-perfect models we implement.  Yet, we know that they are never safe enough,” Glassman said in a statement at the vigil. “Yes, we regularly meet with our Emergency Response Teams.  Of course, we will do so once again this week and heighten even further our already rigorous safety and security measures and enhance our vigilance as well.”

Glassman noted Monday that she and other officials spoke with parents, teachers and guidance counselors on how to address the issue with children and referred to its practices put forth by the National Association of School Psychologists.

“We are very sensitive to our students’ needs and we are making sure that anyone who needs support, including our own staff, is getting it,” she said Monday. “We also met with members of the police department and asked that they have even more of a presence in our schools to provide comfort.”

Parent Lisa Rudley said it would be difficult for many to feel safe enough.

“Sometimes you can’t prepare for the unthinkable and the families of Newtown will never be the same,” Rudley said in an emailed statement.

Lt. Michael McElroy, spokesperson for the Ossining Police Department, said he agreed and disagreed with that idea.

“We can always improve our procedures and practices and we are always looking for ways to do that and will continue to strive for ways to improve the safety of our community,” McElroy said Monday. “At the same time, there are a lot of heavy emotions right now and misinformation about what happened. When that goes away, we will examine our procedures more carefully and there may be some additional procedures that we will adopt to improve safety in and around our schools.”

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