After today's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Harvey sent home the following message to parents. It is printed here in its entirely, unedited.
I am sure that by now you are aware of the . On behalf of the entire Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District, I want to express our sympathy to the families of the children and of the professionals working in their service who lost their lives today. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the survivors of this horrible event who will need all of the resources we can offer to come to grips with its aftermath.
Because we understand that we unfortunately live in a world where there are individuals who see schools as potential targets, I want to assure you that we at the HWRSD have taken the necessary steps to enact plans to make our schools safe. Starting with my entry last July, the HWRSD Leadership Team and I began a series of meetings with Police Chiefs (Russell) Stevens and (Thomas) Perkins, Fire Chiefs (Philip) Stevens and (Robert) Blanchard, and the officers of the Hamilton and Wenham Fire and Police Departments. The result of these meetings was the development of a comprehensive set of crisis plans, including lockdown procedures, for our schools. These plans were reviewed with our faculty and staff members in September, and we are currently developing procedures for conducting tabletop reviews and drills for our plans.
This afternoon, I asked our building principals to review their building access procedures, to make sure that all exterior doors are locked and visitors are “buzzed” in through main entrances, and to remind faculty to review our crisis plan documents.
Our children, like us, will try to make some rational sense of this irrational act, and may naturally express some concerns regarding their own safety at school. For most students, experiencing the routine of a series of normal school days will allow these feelings to fade and build the confidence that they are safe in school. If you notice that your child seems to be having difficulty returning to a sense of “normalcy” over the next few days, please speak with your child’s classroom teacher, school counselor, or principal so that we may connect your child with the appropriate resources.
Hug your children a little tighter tonight and tell them that you love them.
Michael M. Harvey, Ed.D.