As people throughout the nation deal with last month's killing of 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. the committee planning a new Glover School in Marblehead will go through a list of options to enhance security at the school, Superintendent Greg Maass said last night.
Maass said he has a list of possibilities that he will go through with the Glover School Building Committee, as well as the local police and fire departments. He did not discuss specifics but he did tell the committee that any security plan needs to consider more than just structural enhancements.
The superintendent said having strong protocols, communication systems and teacher training, are just a few things that are equally as important as having physical security measures.
“People like to see things that are tangible so it’s easy to say the windows are bulletproof, but beyond the windows being bullet proof, and then what?” Maass said. “People like to see physical changes. The other things, you don’t see them. Sometimes I think we represent physical structures as being the success.”
Intercoms, visitor check-ins and staff training for times of crisis are all ways that can augment school safety, Maass said. People who want to do harm will get by physical structures, he added. It’s another consideration and it’s a tool in the tool box, but it’s one of many.
The issue was brought up during the committee’s monthly meeting last night when members were discussing the progress of the school’s construction.
Fran Sheridan, retired teacher and committee member conveyed her concern for the school’s security.
“It’s been on my mind obviously since Newtown, the horrific tragedy,” Sheridan said. “I have many children and grandchildren and I’m committed to this town. If you were a teacher and you worked as long as I did with that age group, it would rip your heart out. I thought, we’re building a buoyant and new school and we have the opportunity to put in state-of-the-art security and I think it’s our job to make this school as safe as possible.”
In addition, Police Chief Robert Picariello said that his force takes all precautions it possibly can.
“We have great relationships with the school department and are very active with conversations, always, constantly training, constantly talking about measures that can be taken,” Picariello said. “We take school security very seriously and we’re always looking at ways to improve.”