Yesterday’s tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has left us all with broken hearts and worries almost too profound to say out loud. As a parent with four school-aged children, as a member of this community, as Mayor, my first thought was “What are we doing here to keep our kids safe?” And while tragedies such as yesterday’s are beyond the comprehension of any of us, the question still needs to be addressed.
I just got off the phone with Police Chief Paul Shafer. We discussed his recommendations for the immediate and the long-term. I want to assure you that we are working now, as always, in partnership with our school districts to take care of our children.
As you know, we currently have established safety procedures in place in our schools. In the immediate, in an effort to assuage the understandable concerns of parents and students, our schools have coordinated with Chief Shafer a high police presence next week, with Winter Break starting on Friday. Also, school social workers will be available to speak with children who want to talk about yesterday’s incident. As I’ve said before, public safety is paramount, and while the goal is to reassure parents and students, we also need to be cognizant of not scaring our kids.
Longer term security assessments and plans are being discussed Monday at a joint meeting of our school administrators and the Highland Park Police Department. As Chief Shafer noted to me this morning, infrastructure and building admittance procedures will be evaluated and discussed. I’ve shared my personal observations with him and you are welcome to share yours by emailing Police Chief Paul Shafer at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as NSSD 112 Superintendent David Behlow at email@example.com and District 113 Superintendent George Fornero at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are fortunate that we have a good team in place, working together with our community. I’m just so very sorry that we need to have this conversation.