Pickens Tightens School Security in Wake of Newtown Shooting

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Schools in Pickens County have tightened security today in the wake of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-eight people were killed in Newtown, including 20 children, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered the school and began shooting. Later, authorities found the shooter dead. Details are still unfolding. But, the horrific event has compelled local schools to take increased security measures.

In a conversation with FYN this morning, Tate Elementary School Assistant Principal Destini Shope said schools in the district have increased security measures since Friday’s incident. According to Shope, the most significant increase in security is the presence of a Sheriff’s Deputy at the school, saying that the school has been working closely with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department. The deputy was stationed at the front door this morning, she said, to let parents know that the school is taking measures to keep the children safe. She also said the deputy patrolled the hallways of the school, ensuring all the doors were locked.

Also, the school sent out a robo-call to parents last night, informing them that the school would speak to the children today regarding safety measures. Shope said she and Counselor Michelle Stangline paid a visit to each classroom this morning explaining ways to keep safe, such as not letting strangers in locked doors. Stangline recommended all teachers focus on academics and routine, avoiding conversations about the Newtown event. Such conversations, she said, could incite anxiety. Shope said Stangline has experience counseling people with tragedies, such as 9/11 and suicides.

The Assistant Superintendent also said other measures include locking the front door, which she said is the only door that is typically left open, as well a new rule for parents of car riders. The rule states that parents will now have to remain in the after car line, rather than entering the school. The front door will be unlocked today at 2:15 P.M.

Shope said that the deputy will be at the school for the remainder of the week. The locking of the front door and the car rider rule, she said, could possibly be permanent measures, noting, however, that she and Principal Dr. Deb Longshore would continue to review security issues over the Christmas Break.

“We feel safe,”

Shope said, adding that they have had a good day.

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