New Castle News

Schools

December 18, 2012

Shooting Aftermath: Local school districts gear up for crisis plan reviews

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — BEING PREPARED

Kathleen Kwolek, Mohawk superintendent, prepared for Monday morning’s classes by contacting parents Friday.

“I asked them to give the shootings a low profile, not to dwell on it and not to let the kids, especially the very young ones, watch the news,” she said. “But I told teachers if it comes up, allow the discussion.”

Kwolek said she posted advice on Mohawk’s website from the National Association of School Psychologists — tips for parents to talk to their children about violence.

As for herself, Kwolek is reviewing the district’s crisis plan.

“You ask, Have we done all we can?”

The district has one armed security guard, but will have a second soon.

“It seems like the way to go, we have two buildings.”

She added massive renovations over the past few years resulted in improved security. Doors are always locked, security cameras were installed at the high school and now the elementary.

Dr. Alfonso Angelucci spent Monday morning with his staff, reviewing protocols of the district’s crisis management handbook, which was updated last year.

“We asked what will work? What needs to be enhanced?” he said. After a safety team meeting, he continued, “we’ll go to the school board with recommendations for improvements that we believe must be made.”

A recommendation he does not expect to make is to arm the district’s security guards.

“We’re doing fine as we are,” he said. “I don’t want to make the guard a target if someone knows he has a gun and gets the idea to take it.”

He also said he did not discourage teachers from discussing Friday’s shooting with students.

“I told them talk if the subject comes up but don’t allow it to disrupt the instructional environment,” he said. “Don’t dwell on it so it becomes a distraction.

“A lot has changed since Columbine, since 911,” Angelucci said. “A lot of things are commonplace now that I never would have considered.”

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