Local Schools React to Connecticut Tragedy

Districts in Joliet, Minooka and Channahon have all worked with local law enforcement for years to keep students safe.

On Friday morning, a gunman opened fire in Connecticut, killing 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The tragedy was not near us in distance, but hit home as parents' thoughts went to the safety of their own children. The thoughts of concern were shared with local school administrators.

"Clearly, our thoughts and prayers are with the community but especially the family members of the victims," Don White, superintendent of Troy Consolidated School District 30c said in a note home to parents Friday. "There are no words that can be shared to comfort us when we face situations such as these.  

"However, I wanted all Troy families to know that much like other schools, we do our very best to be as prepared as possible for any emergency situations."

The note went on to say that the district has an emergency plan in place, conducts drills within the schools and works closely with police so that they have the best training possible for our administrators.

The thought pattern was similar in neighboring Minooka Community Consolidated District 201.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the families," Al Gegenheimer said in a phone interview. "The reality is there weren't any threats to our schools or our communities."

But, Gegenheimer said, students in the Minooka district will likely not go out for recess next week.

"We just want to make sure that our kids are ok," he said.

Like Troy, Minooka has a plan in place if any kind of emergency were to occur.

"We have a crisis management plan and it's basically an emergency management plan," Gegenheimer said.

In addition to crimes that could occur, the plan in Minooka and neighboring Channahon School District 17 has to address procedures in case a nearby nuclear power plant was to have an emergency that required a large-scale evacuation.

"While there is no plan that can totally prevent a random act of senseless violence like this, we do have a school safety plan in place that has been reviewed by our local law enforcement authorities and practiced diligently by faculty, staff and students," Karin Evans, Channahon School District 17 superintendent said. "There are always lessons learned from an incident such as this and as those emerge we will immediately address them,edit our emergency plans as needed, and implement any changes necessary."

Many of the districts worked with their local police departments on Friday to add extra patrols near the schools.

“The safety and security of our students and staff is a top priority for our school district,” Joliet Grade Schools District 86 Superintendent Charles Coleman said.  “We have existing emergency procedures in place at all schools and all visitors must be identified before they are permitted to enter any school building. In addition, we appreciate the fact that the Joliet Police Department is providing patrol cars in the area of all of our schools.”

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SonofJohn December 17, 2012 at 07:08 AM
Emergency plans are good, but it didn't help those children in Conn. that perished from an insane criminal. I believe school employees should be given proper training in the use of firearms and that they should have secure availability, the police cannot be there in time as has been shown over and over in the last 15 years with mass murders. If a firearm were available in their schools, and proper training were provided as it is now in the Utah school system they would of at least had a chance for a much different outcome. Dr. John Lott's studies prove that firearms and training stop crimes. The first responder need to be present in the face of criminal insanity that no laws can cover.


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