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School district responds to Connecticut crisis

Modified: Tuesday, Dec 18th, 2012

Lilyjana Flores, front, poses with pals Lillian Cox, right, and Taylor Winona, top, as she shares the card she made for Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Ensuring students feel safe was the mission for Siuslaw School District following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 20 children and six staff members the morning of Friday, Dec. 14.

The district’s crisis response team, made up of administrators, counselors and other staff members who have received crisis training, met Friday to decide on response tactics, district-wide and at each grade level.

“We have lockdown plans in place and plans for tsunami and other crises, but we did not have plans for this specific incident. That’s why we came together as a team to brainstorm how to handle it, and to move the plan out to the school teams,” said Ethel Angal, special programs director for the district.

On Monday there was a visible law enforcement presence in the streets around the schools. The Florence Police Department, at the district’s request, increased its patrols.

Staff meetings were held in each school building, during which crisis team members discussed the best ways to address student queries and concerns. Letters went home to parents and information was posted on the district’s website.

“Safe rooms” were set up at each school, where students could express their thoughts, ask questions, or just be silent if that’s what they needed. The rooms are available throughout this week.

For the complete article see the 12-19-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-19-2012 paper.

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