Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Local superintendents discuss school safety plans

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Buffalo: Local superintendents discuss school safety plans
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Friday's tragic shooting has once again raised questions about the safety of students nationwide and what measures are being taken to prevent similar tragedies. YNN's Meg Rossman has more from school officials across Western New York and the plans they have in place to keep children safe.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — "It's the worst nightmare a parent, a school principal, superintendent, community member could ever have," Niagara Falls City Schools Superintendent Cynthia Bianco said.

And it’s one she and other local school officials are constantly trying to prevent.

"The district has some steps that it takes in order to respond effectively to the concerns families will naturally have," Buffalo Public Schools Associate Superintendent Will Keresztes said.

Steps that include lock-outs and the use of state-of-the-art technology.

"At the elementaries, the doors are double locked,” Dunkirk City Schools Superintendent Gary Cerne explained. “You have to be buzzed in to get into the lobbyway and you have to sign in. We're constantly revising our plans with our safety experts; it's something that we try to stay on top of."

They're all plans that were likely in place at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 students at the K-4 school were shot and killed. They’re also plans that all three districts will be working to fortify with their local first responders.

"We're all very conscious of the times and the disarray of some people mentally and try to take the best precaution that you can," Bianco said.

That's something the Buffalo City School District will be doing throughout the weekend in light of Friday's tragedy. The district will be dispatching a crisis team to reassure local students and parents shaken up by the shooting.

"Our crisis team normally has three people on call, there will be nine on call with the potential to go up to 15 members, if necessary, on Monday," Keresztes said.

In the meantime, Cerne said the best way to prevent a similar tragedy is to keep the lines of communication open.

"If people talk and keep us informed and understand that we want to hear from them, I think it goes a long way in preventing things."

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