By Stephen Seitz
LUDLOW—A recent school shooting in Florida and a close call in Fair Haven, where a student plot was foiled in time, have school systems everywhere pondering their safety measures, and the Two Rivers Supervisory Union is one of them.
“School safety is one of our highest priorities,” Two Rivers Superintendent Meg Powden said. “Our students should learn in a safe and comfortable environment.”
There is one proposal with no place on the table.
“I am certainly not in favor of arming our teachers,” Powden said.
The Two Rivers Supervisory Union comprises Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, Chester, Ludlow, Mount Holly and Plymouth.
School safety was already under consideration in Two Rivers, in light of a security audit by state school liaison officer Robert L. Evans, who met with all seven principals in the supervisory union’s jurisdiction back in December.
Evans wrote that preparing a school crisis plan entailed six steps: forming a collaborative planning team; understanding the situation; determining the goals and objectives; developing the plan; preparation, review and approval; and putting the plan into effect.
“The plan should provide an overview of the school-specific approach to safety and security and emergency management and is intended to be used by the school, local emergency first responders and members of the community,” Evans wrote. “Threat- or hazard-specific annexes specify the goals and objectives and courses of actions to be taken by the school in order to deal with a particular hazard or threat such as an earthquake or active shooter. Similar to functional annexes, threat- and hazard-specific annexes describe how the school manages the functions before, during and after an emergency.”
Powden said her schools are working on it.
“The principals will be reviewing the audit and they’ll determine what to do for their schools,” she said. “We’ll fully review our crisis planning.”
Powden said that there have been training exercises, including active shooter drills, in the schools.
“We have to do drills every month,” Powden said. “Relations with first responders varies among the communities, so we’re talking about closer ties with first responders and hazard coordinators.”