To the Editor:
The more awareness we have, the better our chances to intercept a person, who may be planning such an evil act. Dr. John Tindall-Gibson, Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools, and Christopher Edson, Naugatuck Police Chief, have organized a safety audit team to evaluate each school in the Naugatuck district. Emphasis will be placed on building safety, a review of each school's lockdown policy and emergency safety plans. Existing conditions will be noted, and then short-term and long-term recommendations will be made to the superintendent and police chief.
At the high school level, Principal Janice Saam, Dean John DellaCamera and I have already implemented some security changes that will be in effect until the remodel construction is completed. Major changes do not happen overnight, so we do the best with what he have. That is why knowledge and education, for everyone, on this matter is imperative.
Since Columbine (the high school massacre on April 20, 1999 in Colorado that killed 12 students, one teacher and injured 24 others) as these cases were investigated, authorities recommended new plans for lockdown and response. Seconds count. The more difficult we make it for an intruder to enter a school, the better the chance for minimal causalities. Nothing is fool proof, but we must do the best we can from the point of building security and proper training for our faculty and staff.
I read the response of your readers and understand their frustration, as to the best approach to an active shooter. Polices and response are not etched in stone. They are basic principles to implement during an active shooter event. Of course, based on the circumstances at the moment, if an evaction of certain areas of the building can be made with reasonable safety, then it should happen. The problem is there are many variables: is the shooter inside the building, outside the building or one inside and one outside?
High school and middle school students may have a better understanding of whether to an outside area of refuge. Those at the elementary level do not, and rely on their teacher’s ability to get them to an area of safety. That is why I discussed The Survival Mindset for teachers and staff.
As I wrote in my recent guide, it is the responsibility of all, to report suspicious acts, comments, demeanor, texts and internet posts: "See something…Say something." Research to this guide and current lockdown policies has been done through the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and through private organization sites that deal with these types of incidents.
The inspiration for what was written happened on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012, by the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal and faculty. My motivation was in memory of everyone present at the school that day. All I did was put the research on paper in hopes that a future, tragic incident can be flawed by public awareness.
-- Edward Bozenski
Director of Security, Naugatuck School District