CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The start of the school year is here for Chicopee.

The schools have made many changes and additions especially to their security protocols and mental health awareness.

Students and staff in Chicopee have a lot to look forward to this year, including new security devices and mental health professionals to ensure students and staff feel safe.

The school year is beginning here in Chicopee and safety is on the mind of many teachers, staff, and parents here.

Right now, every school currently has security cameras and buzzer systems to allow people in.

However, this year, the school system along with the mayor and city council were able to get a $3.8 million capital improvement bond to help improve security with cameras and enhanced locking devices.

The district feels these new additions are critical to keeping their students and staff safe all year round.

The cameras will also reach toward the parking lots and there will also be additional interior cameras to see what is going on in the hallways.

Superintendent Richard Rege told Western Mass News they have resource officers in their five large schools and those officers rotate to three elementary schools.

“We work with the State Police and with the Chicopee Police Department hand in hand we have all of the staff including school lunch including noon parents bus monitors and we have gone through state police protocol for training on how to handle those kinds of incidents we drill for those, multiple times," Superintendent Rege said.

In addition to more security camera, the district is adding more resources for students who need help with social, emotional health.

“The increases we got from the state allowed us to put social l emotional clinical social workers in our five big schools our three high schools and two middle schools and as well as provide for a social-emotional coach at the elementary school to help identify students who need social and emotional support," Superintendent Rege explained.

Rege told Western Mass News its important for the school to take responsibility for how their students are feeling and these new clinical social workers and coaches will help with just that.

“I think all of us agree in today's world children are coming to us with many social-emotional issues and we need to accept responsibilities for those students who come through those doors," Superintendent Rege noted.

Today begins the first day of school in Chicopee and back to what was mentioned earlier all of these new additions are apart of the schools new budget and the bond the district received.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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