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Wellesley High School updates parents, faculty, students on security procedures

As you can imagine, it’s been a busy and intense past few days for the Wellesley Public School system, with administrators, faculty and others meeting to review security policies and discuss future steps.

Wellesley Middle School earlier today outlined steps being taken at that facility and High School Principal Andrew Keough, following up on a note to parents/guardians over the weekend, has provided a further update:

“This morning we held a before school faculty meeting to discuss the shootings in Newtown.  I projected a copy of our crisis plan for an armed intruder on the screen and we went through it together.  This is not the first time we have done this and it served as a good review of our protocol.  I mentioned that our Crisis Response Team would be meeting today to revisit our plans and that we continue to consult the Wellesley Police Department for input on our emergency response planning.  I informed the faculty that we would be more vigilant about securing the building and that they may notice that the doors were being locked after the morning drop off period.  We are able to do this electronically.  This means that any guest coming after 8:45 a.m. will need to be buzzed in through the front doors.  All teachers have a swipe card providing them with immediate access.

Later in the morning I addressed the entire school during Advisory period, explaining to the students that we all share in the sadness of the events of last week, particularly given that the tragedy took place in a public school.  I assured them that statistically, schools remain remarkably safe in America and ours is no exception.  I also explained that like so many schools across the nation, we will be examining our safety protocols, just to be safe.  Similarly I mentioned that our teachers know what to do in a time of crisis and that they should be trusted and followed.  I explained that the students too will notice the doors being locked in the off hours and should be prepared to buzz in via the front entrance after 8:45 a.m.  I ended the announcement with a moment of silence acknowledging the innocent children and teachers lost last week.  The students were very responsive and clearly had processed this with you at home as well.

Words cannot do justice to the level of anxiety so many of us are feeling in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings.  The unimaginable has happened and we all have been impacted.  We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our school and your children, and will be unrelenting in our efforts to know each of our students so that none ever feel isolated or detached.”

In a follow-up email exchange, Keough said the school is also making sure its signs are visible indicating that all visitors are required to check into the office before moving about the school.

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