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Local education leaders discuss safety protocols in wake of Texas shooting

In the wake of the tragedy in Texas, many local school officials are reminding their communities of their own safety protocols.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 10:43 AM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - In the wake of the tragedy in Texas, many local school officials are reminding their communities of their own safety protocols.

Local school officials offered their condolences to the families of those Texas students and on Wednesday, they discussed their safety measures with their own family members and reassured them that plans are in place to hopefully prevent this tragedy from happening in one of their schools.

Just one day after an elementary school shooting in Texas, many families of western Massachusetts students are turning to their own schools, looking to learn more about their safety protocols.

One Westfield resident took to Facebook and asked questions like:

“What kinda of things are in place at our schools to keep just anyone from walking in off the streets and roaming the halls?”

“Security cameras? Who’s watching them? Do they work or are they just visual deterrents?”

We took those questions to Capt. Steve Dickinson with the Westfield Police Department. He told us they have three resource officers who help out at different schools in the city.

“We have three SROs, one in the high school, one in the Voc, and one that splits his time between the middle schools,” Dickinson explained.

Dickinson told Western Mass News the police department also has cameras in every school.

“They are monitored. Our SROs access and we have access here at the P.D. so we can watch those cameras if we have any incidents,” Dickinson noted.

Westfield Public School Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski emailed a statement to school families Wednesday morning. In that statement, he listed multiple safety measures that the city’s schools follow, Including their ALICE response to any potential armed intruder. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

The statement read that the protocol:

“…is designed to provide comprehensive preparedness in the event of an intruder in one of our schools. The goal is to utilize infrastructure, technology, and human action to increase overall student and staff safety. Our staff receive annual training in this protocol, and we supplement this training with periodic drills and scenarios to further increase our preparedness.”

Springfield Public School Superintendent Daniel Warwick took to Facebook to inform their families and said:

“Over the past several years, we have invested several millions of dollars into upgrades to our security systems and procedures. We convene regularly as an internal team and also with local, state, and national safety experts for ongoing review and re-evaluation of our protocols. Many of those protocols are easily visible, such as the locking of doors, the requirement of a sign-in system, the presence of security officials, and more. Other safety tactics in practice are less visible or noticeable, but they are in place. And we have made it a practice and principle to always err on the side of caution.”

Holyoke Public School officials also released a statement to the community that read, in part:

“HPS has worked collaboratively with state and local police, fire, and district staff who are part of our ‘crisis teams’ to develop comprehensive emergency plans for each school. This team meets monthly. The buildings have clearly defined lockdown procedures that allow us to secure the building, classrooms and other open spaces within minutes. These procedures are practiced routinely throughout the school year. Holyoke Police participate in these drills with us and provide us with feedback. Plans are updated regularly as new guidance or regulations are issued.”