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Maryland Schools Reinforce Safety Plans In Wake Of Conn. Massacre

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(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Schools across Maryland are working to ease the minds of concerned parents after the deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

In Baltimore County, Superintendent Dallas Dance sent out automated calls to parents. He assured them protocols have been sent to all principals and student support services will be available at every school.

And in Howard County, County Executive Ken Ulman says school officials will hold staff meetings Monday morning where they will review emergency plans.

Ulman commended the Howard County Public School System and the Howard County Police Department for their focus on safety and support efforts in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings.

School system officials will hold staff meetings on Monday morning to review emergency plans at each school and to discuss the specific security measures that are in place for monitoring visitors to buildings and the reporting procedures for suspicious activity.

“We must remain vigilant and provide our children and teachers with the help they may need,” Ulman said.

School personnel are prepared to offer support services for staff and students who may need it.  The school system is alerting teachers, administrators and other staff to looking for signs of students struggling with the situation and to direct them to student services staff as warranted. Student services teams have revised their schedules to make themselves available.

As Dr. Renee Foose, the Howard County Public School System superintendent, notes, the system takes a comprehensive approach to ensuring that students have a safe and secure place to learn:

  • All schools have emergency plans in place, train staff and hold monthly safety drills, practicing responses to different emergency situations.
  • All schools have security cameras that cover the main entrance.
  • All school visitors are required to sign in with the main office upon their arrival.
  • School Resource Officers (Howard County Police Officers) are currently placed at all high schools and several middle schools.  These officers also support elementary schools, as needed.
  • All employees wear identification badges.

Starting Monday and in the weeks ahead, the Howard County Police Department will increase patrol presence at schools. The increased visibility will add emphasis to the importance placed on student safety. The Police Department recently completed in-service crisis response training as part of its ongoing preparedness efforts.

A list of resources is available at www.hcpss.org.

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