The tragedy in Connecticut shocked the nation, and its ramifications are surfacing in school districts across the country.
School officials locally are reviewing their security procedures and doing their best to assure parents their children will be safe with them.
“Parents entrust us with the care and well-being of their children in our schools,” the Rev. John Belmonte, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Joliet Diocese in a statement. “It is a responsibility we take very seriously. Great care is taken at every school to ensure the safety of every student,” said Belmonte.
The Diocese of Joliet Catholic Schools ensures safety practices in place will continue and be reviewed. With 22,000 students in 48 elementary and seven high schools in DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Kendall and Will counties, the diocese controls limited access to buildings: School doors are locked at all times; entry for visitors is designated through a main entrance and continuously monitored; and regular lock downs and safety drill protocols are practiced.
Diocesan officials say the safety protocols they have in place every day include:
•Limited access to buildings. School doors are locked at all times. Entry for visitors is designated through a main entrance and continuously monitored;
•Procedures requiring visitors to check-in at the main office;
•Regularly scheduled safety planning. Each school conducts regular safety meetings with faculty member teams;
•Teaching and practicing of safety drills and protocols. Some examples include fire, lock-in, lock-down, bus evacuation, and tornado drills. All of these are designed to protect students and minimize harm to students;
•Teaching students proactive and non-violent problem-solving skills;
•Opening facilities to law enforcement and fire officials for training exercises;
•Working closely with local law enforcement, fire and safety experts in fire, crime prevention, inspection and enforcement activities.