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Northampton school leaders review ways to preserve safe schools in wake of Newtown, Conn. shootings

In the wake of the Dec. 14 school shootings in Newtown, Conn., Northampton school administrators have been meeting with the city police and Central Services departments to discuss ways to preserve a “safe climate” in local public schools.

Among the ideas Superintendent Brian Salzer described in a recent blog post:

∎ installing cameras donated by the city Police Department at Northampton High School;

∎ organizing refresher training sessions for teachers on school security drills;

∎ creating an “adopt-a-school” program in cooperation with city police officers for city elementary schools;

∎ reviewing the security of all doors at NHS, as well as new plans for a security system at the building’s main entrance;

∎ offering a refresher training course for students in grades 6-12 that focuses on “their critical role in maintaining a safe climate” in the schools.

In the days immediately following the slayings at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, where a lone gunman killed 20 students and six adults, Salzer said teachers and students at NHS and JFK Middle School discussed the tragedy in small group advisory sessions.

Guidance counselors were made available to students who wanted one-on-one discussions and Sharon Saline, a clinical psychologist, offered a session on Dec. 19 for all city teachers and classroom aides who wanted to “share feelings and thoughts in response to the recent school tragedy,” Salzer said in his post.

— BARBARA SOLOW

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