School board to add active shooter plan

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NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education will add to its districtwide policy manual a detailed plan of action in the event of an active shooter in a borough school.

Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson reviewed the plan Thursday with the school board. It was crafted by school security director Edward Bozenski and reviewed Tuesday with school principals, Tindall-Gibson said.

Tindall-Gibson said the addendum was created in response to the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, when Adam Lanza killed 20 children and 6 staff members after shooting his way into the school.

“The loss of life was going to occur and there was probably no way to avoid that once he entered the building,” Tindall-Gibson said. “Had there even been an armed officer there, there probably would have still been people who died, and so the emphasis of this is, how do we minimize that?”

Borough schools already had a lockdown policy in response to any threat, but Bozenski and administrators added more detailed steps in the event of a shooter on school grounds. Students and staff must enter lockdown if evacuation is not possible, according to the document. During evacuation, they should have an escape route and plan in mind and prevent people from entering an area where the shooter could be.

During lockdown, cell phones should be silenced and everyone should stay out of view of windows and doors and remain quiet. When officers arrive, people should keep their hands visible, avoid making quick or loud movements and should not stop to ask for help or directions.

Each school should create “areas of refuge” on opposite ends of the school and off campus to be manned by police during emergency situations, according to the plan.

The document contains more tips, including information to provide to 911 operators, and says administrators should create school-specific emergency plans and conduct training exercises with police.

The document also contains some warning signs to identify students who might be planning an attack, such as speaking, drawing or writing about hurting others, warning friends to stay away or exhibiting moody or depressing behaviors.

In addition to the new plan, a kiosk has been set up and is manned by a security guard outside Naugatuck High School, the only school without a buzzer system. When the building is renovated, visitors will enter through a vestibule and will have to be buzzed in by security, and students will use their identification cards to swipe in, Tindall-Gibson said.