Officials taking closer look at safety measures

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Officials in the Naugatuck and Region 16 schools districts are reviewing safety measures in the wake of the Newtown shooting. -FILE PHOTO

Officials in Naugatuck and Region 16 are examining the safety of area schools in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown.

Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson said the district has already started conversations about how to proceed with safety in the future.

“The Naugatuck Police Department will be conducting a security audit of the schools over the next couple months,” Tindall-Gibson said.

Tindall-Gibson said he was pleased with how the district’s security is already, but felt there is always room for improvement.

“Security in Naugatuck schools is very good and much better than in most schools, I think,” Tindall-Gibson said. “I’m confident that there are things we can do to improve security and we’ll make a point to do that in the coming year.”

Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Tim James said the region is currently having discussions about its security measures, but felt that it was premature to say what those discussions entailed.

“We are looking at, in the short term, what we need to fix immediately and, on a larger scale, what we need to do as a district to bolster our current plan,” James said.

James said that one of the first things the district is doing is looking at all of the door locking mechanisms and make sure they are all operational.

Tindall-Gibson said communication is key when it comes to school safety. He said the district will be reaching out to parents and the police department to communicate what is going on and how to best look after the students.

“What we want to communicate to everyone is the safety of children is everyone’s concern and in everyone’s best interest,” Tindall-Gibson said. “We need to work together and open all possible channels of communication to look after all the children in Naugatuck.”

All of these measures come in response to the events of Dec. 14, when Adam Lanza forced his way in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and killed 26 people, including 20 children.

Tindall-Gibson said keeping children safe will take everyone working together.

“We live in a time where things have become more violent. Fortunately it’s also a time where there are better avenues for communication. The best way to protect children is for everyone to be watchful and thoughtful and communicate any concerns they may have to school officials,” Tindall-Gibson said.