Following the shooting at a school on the East Coast that left 27 people dead as of Friday afternoon, officials in South Washington County Schools expressed their condolences and said the district would “continue review of our safety and security practices to determine if they need to be adapted or strengthened.”
From a post on the South Washington County Schools’ website:
Several schools have received calls from parents regarding today’s school tragedy in Connecticut. They are concerned about our district and school security planning and preparation. The following are thoughts we would like to share in this regard:
- Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families impacted by this senseless tragedy, and our schools remain open to serve our students today.
- We want to reassure our parents that safety and security are a priority in all of our schools. Our security plans were developed in accordance with state and federal best practices and in partnership with local public safety professionals.
- We have controlled access to all our buildings, and we have School Resource Officers in place across the district. They are available or on call throughout the school day to all of our schools.
- In light of today’s tragedy, we will continue review of our safety and security practices to determine if they need to be adapted or strengthened.
“This is an active ongoing investigation,” Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said at an afternoon press conference Friday, updating the assembled media about the state of the investigation into the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Vance confirmed the death toll: 20 children, six adults, including the shooter, and one adult victim at a “secondary scene” in Connecticut.
But in response to multiple questions from press, Vance said at one point: “There are a lot of things we cannot confirm.”
He did offer the beginning of a basic timeline, saying the first call came in at around 9:30 a.m.
“Officers immediately entered the school to search for students, faculty and staff and remove them,” he said. “They did search every nook and cranny. ... Those who were rescued were taken to a staging area.”
The school is now secure. Two rooms of the school appeared to be the gunman’s focus.
“It is not a simplistic scene,” Vance said. “We will be here through the night and through the weekend. We are not putting a time stamp on this process.”
The secondary local crime scene may well be this investigation in the Sandy Hook section, the only other known center of police investigation in Newtown right now.
Check the Newtown Patch site for further updates.
From Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius:
"Today, innocent children and educators lost their lives in an unspeakable tragedy. When we send our children to school, we expect they will be safe and secure. Nothing is worse than when our confidence is shaken and the safety of a child is put into question. Our hearts go out to the Newtown community as they begin the long process of healing in the days, weeks and months to come."