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Letter from Branford Schools on Newtown Tragedy

The following is a letter from the Branford Board of Education and Superintendent Hernandez regarding the Newtown tragedy.

 

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Friday’s horrific and shocking event has had a profound impact on our shared sense of security. Our entire school community is reeling from the unimaginable tragedy that Newtown is dealing with and they shall remain in our collective thoughts and prayers.

Many children will ask questions about the event and it is important that you provide the level of information you feel is appropriate for your child. In an effort to provide you with support when responding to questions, hyper-links to on-line resources are available on our school website. You may consider reviewing these resources and incorporating suggestions from them when responding to questions from your child.

We also encourage you try to limit your child's exposure to media coverage of this event, difficult as that might be. On Monday and in the days ahead, Branford Public Schools shall focus on maintaining a level of normalcy, but we will also to be prepared to support students and staff. In whatever way is necessary reassuring our students that their schools are safe and that we work together to maintain a safe learning environment is paramount at this point in time. The administrative team and staff have been advised about the importance of validating the emotions expressed by students and to guide them back to our normal routine.

In addition to supporting students and staff, every employee of BPS is reminded to follow our security procedures and practices. We must all understand and welcome any minor inconveniences associated with following simple rules and procedures, as these rules ensure the safety of our students and staff. Branford Public schools are safe, and although our sense of security has been shaken, it is well within our power to reassure our students and each other that we can contribute to the overall safety of schools and community by adhering to procedures and by maintaining a healthy sense of awareness.

In closing, we wish to restate the importance the board and district place on maintaining, and when necessary, improving our school safety. To that end, our schools conduct planned drills, and our emergency plans are reviewed regularly. In the weeks ahead, our collective effort will demonstrate to our children and the community that our highest priority is providing a quality education in a safe environment for all.

Hamlet M. Hernandez
Superintendent of Schools

Frank Carrano
Frank Carrano Chair, Board of Education

Bill Keane December 16, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Thanks to Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Carrano for their leadership. If the schools or the Board of Ed. need any back-up grief counseling, I think I speak for all of my colleagues in saying that any and all of the Branford Clergy would be able to help.
Nicole Ball December 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Thanks for offering your services Bill. I am sure the BOE will note this.
Arbie December 17, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Please tell me and the rest of us, just how are our schools safe? Tisko for example once you get buzzed in, what prevents someone intending harm from just taking a right and run down the hall or a left for that matter and just run passed the office? Anyone have a good answer????!!!! I could go on about the other schools as well. Drills & planning....blah blah blah. Newtown had a buzz in system too.
Robin Filardi December 17, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I suggest starting with morning prayers. That's all the security you'll ever need.
Arbie December 17, 2012 at 02:13 PM
And here's another thought..... just how do you intend to "lock down" WIS with it's open classes? Drills and whitewash words mean nothing. Nationwide, if the federal government really wants to help, fund the towns and cities so they could afford to have an armed & trained security person at every school. Reinforced doors, windows and bullet resistant glass should be used in all school construction, retrofit every single door & window. If you can train teachers in first aid and CPR etc., then train the willing ones in self defense and equip them with the right tools. Every school could have a locked secure arsenal. All it takes is money spent the right way. We are living in a different world today, we all need to wake up, face reality and be proactive.
Arbie December 17, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Oh my God, is your head buried in the sand! Its that kind of thinking that got us here in the first place.
Maureen Campagna December 17, 2012 at 02:38 PM
It's time to put an Armed Police Officer in every school across the country, as part of the school staff.
Terry Twigg December 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
"Every school could have a locked, secure arsenal." Which is only as secure as the flawed humans responsible for the keys. My blood freezes. Europe has strict gun control, which prevents lunatics from arming themselves, and universal health care, which, one hopes, allows the mentally ill to get treatment before it's too late. Their children are safe without the need for armed guards and bulletproof windows. This is not a coincidence. At the very least, the assault weapons ban needs to be reinstated.
bball fan December 17, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I hope they start with the High School. Kids come and go out of numerous doors all day. There should be one way in and one way out, other than in emergencies. And this applies to teachers and staff as well. Walking a little bit more wouldn't but such a bad thing. It is ridiculous up there. All it takes is one kid to leave a side door open ajar for a little while and anyone has access. Maybe it will also stop the kids who go outside for a smoke and whatever else they do. I know in times like this everyone has extreme statements of change, but then a lot of things don't get done because of inconvenience or cost. Let's see how the BOE handles this obvious flaw at the HS.
concerned citizen December 18, 2012 at 01:25 PM
It is my understanding that Mr Hernandez has not had one lock down drill in any school this year. How can you expect armed security, better doors and windows and other measures be done from this board when they are unable to do basic drills that amount to little more than a fire drill!
Arbie December 18, 2012 at 01:46 PM
My point exactly. I asked my kids yesterday if anything changed or was said in school about Newtown or any safety procedures and the answer was NO! Not even a police officer at the schools. North Haven, Wallingford and probably others had police officers at the schools. The world has changed once again last Friday, has no one learned anything from it? We live in different times now and things must change to insure our student's safety as well as the staff.
concerned citizen December 18, 2012 at 03:32 PM
The problems with the declining school systems will continue till the citizens of Branford change the board. To except this administration to do anything about security is ridicules. They can't even get ceiling tiles into WIS the first thing that needs to happen is the votes of Branford need to change the board then demanded a confident superintendent who will actually listen to the parents adviser board instead of just paying them lip services
bball fan December 18, 2012 at 04:10 PM
They don't listen to anyone. A good number of them sit there all hign and mighty and think becuase they have been on the board for so long that they know everything. They have all the answers because they go to seminars or read "perfect world" articles. They cannot handle day to day real life issues because they are afraid to upset the apple cart. They give you all the politically correct answers. Everything is a process and god forbid they make an actual decision that makes common sense. I wish people could get on overhead view of the high school and see how many people go in and out of every door in that school during school hours. The rent a cops sometimes catch the kids outside, but not until after the fact that the doors are not secure. I have complained about this for 2 years.
JEE December 18, 2012 at 10:57 PM
As usual, just a bunch of words. Where is the action? Need to do something overt to demonstrate the point, not referring people to websites.Too late now, but a pre-class assembly for parents and children at every school on Monday would have been perfect. If it had to do with building another Unk-building the town's response would have been different. How about taking the money set asside for the public works building and use it to secure the schools correctly. How about acting rather than re-acting.
JEE December 18, 2012 at 10:59 PM
That is correct. Too busy finding ways to get his contract extended.

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