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Easton Superintendent Assures Parents in Wake of Newtown

A letter was sent to all Easton Public Schools Parents. Procedures are in place, officials said.

Easton Public Schools Superintendent Michael Green assured Easton parents this week that officials are doing everything they can to provide a safe atmosphere during the school day.

"On Monday of this week, we met with an administrative team and members of the Easton Police and Fire Departments to take a look at all of our district emergency plans," Green said. "We looked at areas for increasing communication with building access and monitoring within the building as well as the reviewing of safety procedures going forward with our students."

Green sent a letter to all parents in the school district in the wake of the Newtown tragedy last Friday.

While officials reviewed protocols this week, Green said the schools already have "firm" procedures in place in the event of an emergency.

"We have an emergency plans manual with very specific protocol to follow," he said. "They were developed by the Easton School Department and the Easton Police and Fire Department.  They’re firmly in place and they are reviewed annually with the staff."

Staff members regularly review the manual at staff meetings throughout the year, Green said. He declined to go into specific detail for safety purposes, but said procedures vary based on the circumstance.

Additionally, all Easton schools take precautions regarding who is and isn't allowed into the buildings.

"All of the buildings in the morning, right after kids arrive, the doors are all locked and checked," he said. "We make sure of that and they’re locked until the end of the day.

"Obviously, what we’re doing now and we’ve been doing all along is we just make sure all exterior doors are closed and locked for the day. All of the schools have buzzer systems in place."

Unfortunately, a nation-wide response to a tragedy such as the one in Newtown isn't new to Easton officials.

Wes Paul took over as Oliver Ames High School principal on April 1, 1999. Just 20 days later, two gunmen wrecked havoc on a Columbine, CO. high school.

"You need to have a solid basic plan in place," Paul said. "Unfortunately, you can't prepare for everything."

Paul said it is comforting to have the Easton Police and Fire Station so close to the high school on Lothrop Street. HH Richardson-FL Olmsted, Easton Middle School, and Parkview Elementary are also in the complex. Moreau Hall and Center School are in separate locations.

Green said parents would be informed of any type of emergency via their reverse-911 system, Global Connect.

"We have several ways to communicate," he said. "We have our Global Connect, which is our communication system now. What happens is we’re able to contact all parents on the numbers they leave – whether they’re cell phones or home phones. Some folks have email so we have multiple ways of communicating and that’s what we do."

Paul said he would also take to twitter and social media to inform parents in the event of emergency. His twitter handle is @OAHSTigers

"I'd be tweeting it and doing updates via twitter," he said. "I'd be using social media to be able to put parents at ease on a regular basis."

Paul has also formed an emergency response team at the high school to deal with the fallout of any type of tragedy or emergency consisting of the school guidance counselors, the school psychologist, the school nurse, the athletic director, principal and two assistant principals.

Green said all of the schools have services available, and students who wish to talk about Newtown have a place to turn.

"There’s student services available to kids for anyone who wants to talk about something," he said. "We have that in place. The students work with the teachers in the classrooms and the principals certainly work with each of their buildings. I think we’re good with that."

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