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GVSD Superintendent Responds to Sandy Hook Tragedy

Dr. Alan Lonoconus urged parents to reassure their children that they are safe.

In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Great Valley School District superintendent Alan Lonoconus issued a letter to parents. In it, he reassures

The full letter is online at gvsd.org and reprinted below: 

Dear Parents/Guardians,
As we prepare to return to school tomorrow following the shooting in Connecticut, I am looking for your continued partnership. Please talk to your children today or tonight to reassure them that they are safe; reinforce that their bus driver, teacher, principal and other adults at school care deeply about their well being. Please continue – as I know you have begun – to speak with your children about the feelings they may have in reaction to this recent and tragic event. While there are no easy answers to the many questions being asked around this tragedy, events like this provide us with the opportunity to model calm and caring behavior as we help our children understand. We should also remind them that, as the adults in their lives, we do everything we can to keep them safe.
I also take this opportunity to remind you of the safety procedures we have in place. All of our schools are locked and visitors can only enter through the main office at each building. Teachers and administrators are aware of protocols to follow in case there is ever an intruder in one of our schools. Additionally, our students and staff participate in lockdown drills each year. Over the last three months, we have been proactively updating our District Safety Plan and have an emergency “table top” exercise scheduled for this spring where we will look at additional ways to increase the safety of our schools. Certainly, the input I have received from parents and Board members will be part of our future considerations.
If you have questions or need support in talking to your children, I encourage you to contact your school principal and/or counselor. I have also included some resource links below from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP):

As your superintendent, I echo the statement made by the NAESP: “Principals, teachers and administrators all across our country are mourning for their fallen colleagues and are feeling the unbearable loss of precious children. We pledge to do everything we can to strengthen laws and policies aimed at keeping our children safe and secure in our nation's schools and communities."

I have always admired the way this school community comes together in times of needs. My hope is that this event brings us even closer, as a community, and as families.  

Sincerely,
Alan J. Lonoconus
Superintendent of Schools

See also:

Candle-Lighting Service for Sandy Hook

Tim Caban December 18, 2012 at 02:48 AM
How about responding by doing what the Butler school district and 118 other school districts in PA are doing. Hire a retired state trooper for each school in the district to be armed security. It's better than the other alternatives I've read which are 1. do nothing and rely on the current plan or 2. arming school employees who aren't professional security people such as the principal or other person in the school. A retired state trooper walking around would be respected by all the kids and he would probably go along way to making various people including pedophiles think twice about pulling any kind of nonsense in the school. I would pay more taxes for retired state troopers. Why not put it to a referendum in the district. It's already being done by other school districts in PA so the school board couldn't say they have to research whether its possible or not. http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/3145448-74/butler-district-districts#axzz2FMbVwX9r
Kristen Klugh Cannella December 18, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Parents of children in the community received yet another comforting and informational communication from Dr. Lonoconus yesterday. He has been visiting schools, listening to our children, and sharing support. As a former educator, I understand the challenges that all people who work in public education face--from lunchroom workers to teachers to secretaries all the way up to Dr. L. These amazing people not only 'teach' our children, they nurture, protect, encourage in a day and time that is very scary but very real. I especially want to honor Dr. L. and his constant presence at events, ceremonies, and making sure that our children are heard at all times. We are lucky to have him!
Tom Fox December 19, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Both are great comments.
Concerned Parent December 19, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I just left a GV school five minutes ago (11:00 am) after dropping something off. I walked directly into the main office, unchallenged, and could have accessed the rest of the school effortlessly. Don't believe what you hear. NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

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