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Naugatuck Security Director Explains Parent Notification Process

Bozenski: "We don’t want parents, friends and relatives showing up at the school; we want to keep everyone safe."

 

Following an hour-long lockdown of Andrew Avenue School Wednesday, parents and guardians have questioned why the school district did not notify them immediately of the situation.

The lockdown was called at 8:55 a.m. after police received reports of gunshots in the area of the school. It was called off at 10 a.m. after police realized students were not in danger. Later in the day, police said the reported gunshot sounds ended up being made by illegal fireworks.

In an attempt to get answers about the procedures for notifying parents, we sat down with Edward Bozenski, director of security for the Naugatuck Public School system. Here is what he said:

“When a school goes into an actual lockdown, notification is not put out officially until the situation is all clear. Obviously, we don’t want parents, friends and relatives showing up at the school; we want to keep everyone safe. We don’t want them walking into a bad situation, if that is what is happening. I know obviously they are concerned, but they have to trust the administration, faculty and staff to do the proper job for what our policies call for, whether it be a lockdown or an evacuation.

“The media, they usually monitor police frequencies, and they may get the information quicker than a parent gets it (from the school district). Obviously, the school does have a responsibility to let parents know what happened after the fact. Obviously, during an actual lockdown code, the teachers, administrators and other staff are going to do what they are supposed to be doing: keeping the kids safe. The police responded, and I’m sure they kept vehicles and pedestrians out of the area.

 “…There is a heightened since Sandy Hook (which occurred on Dec. 14) all over the country. I think in the Andrew Avenue situation, everyone responded well. Someone heard what sounded like a gunshot and called it in.”

Active Shooter Drills in Schools

“We’re going to be having drills over the school district called Code Black drills. We want to see who the first person is to recognize the bad guy. It will be a police officer posing as an intruder. Police will be involved, as will security and administration here at the high school. (Principal) Jan Saam is coordinating with the police. So it’s a good thing that we’re doing training exercises. There will be no surprises; the students will know when the drill is. We just want to make sure that everybody responds the way they should.

“…I know some (schools) have already done active shooter drills. It’s something that’s going to be on our agenda every year to practice.”

Read more about Naugatuck’s school security responses since Sandy Hook here and a letter to the editor from Bozenski regarding security here.

Colleen March 14, 2013 at 06:21 PM
So parents are better off monitoring the Naugatuck Patch for news on what is happeneing in their school systems rather than relying on the school to inform them. Point noted.
sirqua March 15, 2013 at 01:11 PM
They left out the fact that it was town employes from the parks dept that were setting off the ilegal fireworks while on the job. Dont worry nobody got fired though
Steve Scott March 15, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Thanks for this, Paul. If you are planning a follow up, it would be helpful to know whether Naugatuck's policy is consistent with neighboring districts. Would also be good to know whether any elected school board members feel the policy merits review...
Voice Of Reason March 15, 2013 at 01:35 PM
I have to agree with the Security Director here ESPECIALLY with this particular incident and the reason for the lockdown! Giving immediate notification of "SHOTS FIRED" Andrew Ave School under Lock Down would create hysteria and more concern and worry then warranted! Let the authorities control the situation and do their jobs! Hind sight being Twenty Twenty and now knowing the actual reason for the lockdown imagine the outrage towards the goofing off town employees! Right now it's being shrugged off as nothing . Thunk about parents freaking out rushing to the school concerned about there children the thoughts running through their heads only to find out what the Shots Fired report was generated from! They'd be calling for their heads on a stick!
J. Snell March 15, 2013 at 04:32 PM
This is a brilliant plan. In addition, schools should not let parents - or children - know of possibly dangerous threatening storms either! And administrators shouldn't let police know about possible creepers lurking around the edges of the school grounds. The cops would only have to mention that on their radios and then the media would pick up on it and before you know it, parents might show up at schools - and we obviously don't want that to ever happen. And come to think of it - they should do away with those school crosswalks too. After all, someone might mistake a crosswalk as an attempt to keep children safe.
Colleen March 15, 2013 at 04:40 PM
I will go ahead and respost this here as well, since people like to downplay a parents valid concerns. and to Voice of reason, evidently it has escaped you that your opinion means absolutely nothing to me or any other parent when concerned for their child. Here is a good example of keeping people informed and NOT inciting panic: Again, how exactly would you feel if you were at work one day and happened to open the Naugatuck Patch to check the weather to see that your 6 year old childs school is on a lock down and this was your FIRST information about it? I think careful and expediant message delivery would address all the things you are concerned about. Careful and concise message crafting is a valuable tool and creates a feeling of control and security in most people. Not the panic you are imagining. A sample message may include: "The Andrew Avenue School is currently under a lockdown. Suspicious sounds were called into the police department by area residents. While we feel this is a precautionary measure while local law enforcement can complete a sweep of the area, please do not come directly to the school as noone is being leaving or entering at this time. Please be assured that your childrens safety is our highest priority and you will receive an additional notification when the Code Black has been lifted. If you have any questions you may call the school at 203-720-5521 Again, please do not come to the school at this time." Pretty simple.
Katy Scott March 15, 2013 at 07:09 PM
This is wrong on so many levels. We leave our children in the care and responsibility of a system with the expectation of transparency, information, and trust. The kids are the important element here and should be the beginning and the end of the security system's focus - not what "might" happen "if" they inform adults of what's happening, at their convenience. Edward Bozenski's saying that, due to imagined and unproven fears, the security team won't keep us informed? That is so wrong. If the worry is that, in the case of a problem, mobs will rush the school, inform us - tell people to wait until the situation is secure. I'm a parent. Yes, I'd be worried if an incident happened at my school. I'm also an intelligent person who understands risk. Tell us if it's risky for us to come. Yes, some will come anyway - that is their choice and their risk. This decision reinforces my fear and insecurity surrounding how safe my children are and who's in charge of protecting them. It does not reassure me one iota. This statement by Mr Bozenski seriously threatens my sense of security and trust. Thank you.
Voice Of Reason March 16, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Colleen it's citizens like you that the Security Director or anyone involved wouldn't rush to release infio as you posted because you'd be the first one racing to the school or blow up the phone at the school overly worried! You would be the first one chomping at the bit for more info on suspecious sounds and LAW ENFORCEMENT IS SWEEPING THE AREA! IMO they acted correctly on this incident ,as with most that turned out to be nothing serious. We are slowly becoming a society that if someone says boo to loudly you're ready to stick your head between your legs and yell Uncle!
Voice Of Reason March 16, 2013 at 12:55 AM
J snell, You cannot listen to police radio they have gone digital encrypted. I would luv for them to get rid of the Code Red system as Mayor Bob and I are going to have a major issue next time he calls my house at 7:15 am announcing a parking ban is in effect ,garbage is one day behind,and the Gov has closed the roads after I've been up to the wee hours of the morning clearing the snow! LOL Don't suggest unplugging my phone I have elderly inlaws. I didn't sign up for it either!
Colleen March 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Voice of reason you can make all the assumptions you want in your self important mind but no I would not be rushing to the school. I work in Emergency Preparedness and am quite aware of how these things work. Do not pretend to know me or what I would or would not do. Never did I say that I would be running to the school. Reading comprehension is your friend
Ken Hanks March 16, 2013 at 01:29 PM
VOR, While most people find the CodeRed calls useful, I fully understand that others do not wish to be bothered. Please email your telephone number(s) to me at khanks@naugatuck-ct.gov and I will remove you from the system.

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