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Reading and North Reading Officials Weigh in On Newtown Tragedy

Find out what local officials had to say about the shooting in Newtown.

In the wake of the unimaginable tragedy at Sandy Hook School Friday, we asked local officials how they would let a parent know if something like this happened in Reading or North Reading and if they had plans in place. Here are their responses.

Reading

According to Superintendent John F. Doherty, "We have an emergency notification system called Connect Ed that allows us to send voice, email, or text message to all of our families in less than five minutes. We have used it several times in the past for school cancellations and other emergencies. Each school and the district have updated safety plans. In addition, we have several emergency drills during the school year to make sure that we carry out those plans appropriately. We work very closely with the Police and Fire Departments to make sure that are plans are coordinated and align with the current best practices in school safety."

According to Reading Police, they do have plans if a situation like the Newtown tragedy were to occur in town, but each situation is different.

The following is a message from the Reading Public School District:

The Reading Public Schools are deeply saddened by the news of the tragic events that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday. This tragedy touches all of us, both near and far, regardless of whether we are educators, parents, or students. The safety of all of our children and our staff are our number one priority and over the last few years, we have put in place policies and procedures that support this priority, including consistent procedures to secure the schools and conducting regular emergency drills.  As we have in the past, we will work with the Reading Police and Fire Departments to review our safety plans and align them to the current best practices. 

When a tragedy like this one strikes, everyone's sense of safety becomes uncertain. As adults in the community, we find ourselves trying to answer our own and our children's questions that have no real answers. For your information, I have attached a document from the National Association of School Psychologists that informs parents and educators how to talk to children about violence.  In addition, I have provided some additional resources below to assist you during this difficult time.

  1. Video on the subject of talking to children about tragic events like this-Click here.
  2. For Younger Children-Here for Each Other:  Helping Families After Emergencies
  3. National Association of School Psychologists Website-A National Tragedy:  Helping Students Cope

If your child exhibits any unusual fears that you feel his or her school should know about on Monday, please contact your child's teacher or principal. We will be happy to work with you to address these issues.

Life is precious – the holidays are difficult for many – may we all be reminded today of what’s really important – family, friends, and caring for one another.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school or the Superintendent’s Office.

North Reading

According to Superintendent Kathleen Willis, "The North Reading School District has emergency protocols in place. Parents will be informed via the “AlertNow” Rapid Notification System (telephone and email) about any extraordinary event.  If evacuation was necessary, parents would be notified via AlertNow of the time when it is safe to reunite with their children and the specific location of designated pick-up."

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Links to Newtown Patch’s coverage of the shooting here:

  • Reaction: Sandy Hook School Shooting
  • Police Raid Sandy Hook Home Hours After Shooting
  • [PHOTOS] Newtown School Shooting

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