In the wake of the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the Anne Arundel County Public Schools have released a statement regarding the safety measures in place at Anne Arundel County Schools.
School Superintendent Kevin Maxwell, Board of Education President Andrew Pruski, and the leaders of Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ four employee bargaining units issued the following joint statement today in the wake of the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
The horrific mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school has stoked fear in the hearts of every parent, child, teacher, and school system employee. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved.We also want to assure you that our school system, like those across our state, has a network of security procedures and practices in place to help keep our children and our employees safe.
To be clear, there is no plan that guarantees 100 percent safety to all students and staff in our schools in every situation. We continue, however, to put in place proactive measures that are prudent and reasonable to protect students and employees. We have invested heavily in technology such as video intercom systems at main entrances to schools, and in electronic visitor tracking systems, which allow us to detect registered sex offenders who may try to gain access.
Front office staff must buzz in visitors to our school buildings. At our newest schools, there is a double-door system that prevents direct access from the front door to hallways where classrooms are located. All of our schools run periodic emergency drills to familiarize students and staff with what to do in a variety of situations ranging from tornadoes to active shooters in buildings. This month’s drill, ironically, focused on an active shooter in the building.
Our partnerships with law enforcement, emergency response agencies, and health departments have resulted in increased resources and supports for our students and employees. County police, for instance, had officers at almost all of our schools at dismissal Friday and will endeavor to do so again for arrival on Monday.
We would ask parents to help us in our efforts to provide safe and supportive learning environments, and to talk with their children about this event and their school experience. Communication is absolutely critical.
In addition, parents should monitor the reaction of their children to these events, as well as the activities of their children. Please be sensitive to the news coverage, as some of it may be graphic and disturbing.
It is parents who are best able to gauge the moods and reactions of their children to circumstances such as these. Please know that our school counseling staffs are ready and prepared to talk to any student or parent who has a need to discuss their feelings.
Parents should also convey to their children that it is OK not to have answers to every question, and not be afraid to express their own emotions. This act, obviously, is one that is inexplicable, and parents should convey that to their children.
Our school system and our partners will continue to do everything we can to ensure that our children are educated in, and that our staff works in, environments that are safe, healthy, and supportive.
Kevin Maxwell, Superintendent of Schools
Andrew Pruski, President, Board of Education
Richard Benfer, President, Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County
Reginald Farrare, President, Association of Educational Leaders
Roland Johnson, President, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 1693
Patricia Dudley, President, Secretaries and Assistants Association of Anne Arundel County