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Naugatuck School Security Director Explains New School Safety Procedures

Edward Bozenski writes letter to the editor to respond to Patch reader comments.

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

SocKet rocket January 14, 2013 at 01:45 PM
I'm glad to see we are going to address security. But the facts of the matter are, the end game of an active shooter situation is to send men with guns (police) into the school to stop the shooter. Yet we aren't willing to have men with guns (PD/security) stationed within the school to prevent a shooter. Why??? Politics and money. They are afraid to upset liberals and more realistically they cannot afford armed police or security. The correctly trained force needed is not cheap and you cannot just drop a $10/hr armed guard into a school and think it fixes anything.
Cheryl January 14, 2013 at 11:58 PM
I do not believe having armed security in any school will STOP a person whose SOLE INTENT is to shoot and kill people... They will shoot ANYONE standing in their way... Very SAD, but also VERY TRUE... I'm sorry, I probably don't represent "the majority" but I cannot seem to say that I think it was in fact preventable.. I just pray that we as a society can become better prepared and more aware...IT IS SUCH A TRAGEDY!!!
Marcia Puc January 15, 2013 at 03:18 AM
"see something. say something". that is so true. we need to be vigilant as parents, friends and neighbors. Sadly, there will always be crazies out there. But, it seems that every time there is a mass shooting that it was never out of the blue. These people need help, serious help. We are responsible for our actions and while are children are living in our homes, we are responsible for their actions as well. Parents need to act like parents - not friends. I know it's not always easy, but it's the right thing to do. There might be a few less crazies of we take the time to raise our children into functioning adults.
Melissa Borsey January 17, 2013 at 03:20 PM
The people at Sandy Hook had absolutely no time to implement anything. If a police officer had been at the front door possibly the shooter may have never gotten out of his car or if he had the police officer aware and ready would have called in a suspicous person having a police cruiser now on the way. The police officer could have, if not stopped the man permanently, he could have possibly slowed him down. The only true way to keep our schools safe is to have a Police Officer there, prepared and ready to act, not by having a "plan" that is not implemented because there wasn't enough time to do so!

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