While some school systems across the country are updating its security systems following the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, CT Friday, Framingham Public Schools upgraded its security system, including new buzzers, automatic door openers and video equipment, in the fall.
Editor's Note: Having visited many of the schools since August. Visitors ring a buzzer at the front door. Office staff can view who is at the door, talk to the person via the system and if they choose, open the door for the person to enter the building.
Many of Framingham Public Schools principals sent out emails, letters and ConnectEd phone calls to parents Friday and over the weekend.
Most reminded parents of the current security measures in place.
This was issued to Dunning Elementary parents Friday: "Due to the events occurring in Connecticut earlier today, we want to take a moment to reach out to you to remind you that school security, assisted by camera and interior buzzer access, has been in place for serveral months at all of our school buildings. Please rest assured that your children are safe during the school day. Safety is of utmost concern to us and we are doing our due diligence in providing the for the security of your children and staff members."
Brophy Elementary Principal Frank Rothwell sent out the following message "I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you to remind you that the security of your children is of utmost concern to all of us at Brophy school. At our school and throughout the district access to school buildings is monitored by camera and interior buzzer systems and each school has emergency plans in place to keep students safe. We are doing our due diligence in providing for the security of your children and our staff members; our safety plans are reviewed yearly at the district and the building level with the assistance of local law enforcement officials."
Today, as children return to school, Framingham Superintendent of Schools Stacy Scott told Framingham Patch counselors and support staff will be available in every school.
"Principals and staff are prepped for possible conversations with children. Central Office staff will be in schools offering support. We are reassuring parents that our security upgrades are all in place from earlier plans this fall," said Scott. "Letters have gone out in several languages to parents, ConnectEd messages were sent today and web postings were done with resources for parents who need to talk to their children."
Today, at Hemenway Elementary School classroom teachers will hold an Open Circle with the primary goal of reassuring children that they are safe at Hemenway School and that there are adults they can trust and speak to throughout the day," wrote Principal Lucia Laguarda and Assistant Principal Liz Simon to parents. "We are very fortunate to have a strong team of counselors in the Framingham Public Schools who are prepared to deal with traumatic situations."
While Scott is happy with the plan in place with the Framingham Public Schools he told Patch "We will review protocols for improvements. Our schools are very safe but we know we can always get better."
On Friday, Barbieri Elementary sent a letter home to parents, in multiple languages, about a change in security at the school starting today, Dec. 17.
The letter states: "Beginning, Monday, December 17, we will have a new entry system for our front door. In an effort to maintain secure environment for our students, a bell entry system has been installed. The main door will be locked from 9:30 in the morning until 2:45 in the afternoon. To enter the school you will need to ring the bell at the right hand side of the main entrance door. One of our secretaries will answer ... They will be able to see visitors as a camera has been installed as well. If they do not recognize the visitor, they will be asked to identify themselves and they will open the door. ... We regret the inconvenience this may cause ..."
Scott, in a letter over the weekend, said he knows that this week - the last before the holiday break - will be tough for teachers, aides, staff, etc.
"The tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning touched all of us as educators, staff members, parents and community members," wrote Scott. "The loss of six dedicated, passionate, committed educators is devastating and the loss of twenty children beyond comprehension and heartbreaking."
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, children, teachers and administrators of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the entire Newtown community," he said.
"My thoughts and those of the district are also with each and every one of you. I know that in the days and weeks ahead supporting and reassuring the children and families in your schools and classrooms will be your priority. It will be a challenge for all of us to remain strong during this time but a challenge I know we can and will overcome," wrote Scott. "As caregivers, I want to encourage you to remember to take care of each other and yourselves as well. Please reach out to your colleagues, support staff and your community if you need support and reassurance."