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Haddonfield Reviews Safety After Deadly CT Shootings

Officials meet to ensure public safety.

The borough school board and commissioners released the following statements Monday:

As a community and nation, we mourn the tragic loss that occurred in Newtown, CT, this past Friday. The nature and heartbreak of that day will be remembered in the years to come.

With that said, please be advised that school district and borough officials met today in order to review our District’s Crisis Plan protocol. Please be assured that we are looking into every aspect of our security measures districtwide and that our students’ safety is a top priority.

This week, administrators have prepared building level plans in order to increase safety and give support to students who were affected emotionally by this incident. Haddonfield Police also have increased a presence around each school building, however not directly visible so as not to alarm students.

Administrators, teachers and counselors are also working together to provide a safe and supportive school environment leading into the holidays.

Haddonfield Director of Public Safety Ed Borden, Emergency Management Coordinator Linda Harrington, Police Chief John Banning and Fire Chief Joseph Riggs released the following statement on Dec. 17, 2012:

In light of the tragic events of last Friday in Newtown, CT, we believed it would be helpful to the community to provide a summary of certain emergency preparedness measures which have been undertaken by Haddonfield public schools in conjunction with the department of public safety.

In November 2010, a law went into effect in New Jersey requiring public and private schools, grades K-12, to conduct one school security drill per month in addition to a monthly fire drill. Just prior to that time, the Camden County Fire Marshal’s Office introduced a countywide “Three-Tier-Lockdown Procedure” it developed along with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and the Camden County Police Chiefs Association.

The Haddonfield public safety department assisted in disseminating the published information and guidance regarding the new law and procedure to schools in the borough. The borough maintains a close relationship with the public and private schools in Haddonfield, and officials from the department of public safety routinely observe and critique school security drills, including tier III (active shooter) lockdown drills and evacuation to shelter drills.

In the first eleven months of 2012, the police department, fire department, and office of emergency management have participated in 35 security drills and planning meetings with Haddonfield public and private schools. In addition to tier III lockdown drills and evacuation to shelter drills, the schools carry out a number of drills on their own, including tier I (securing of exterior doors) and Tier II (securing of exterior and interior doors, with no class changes) drills, non-fire evacuation drills, bomb-threat evacuation drills, and tests of their communication and notification systems.

School administrators communicate questions or concerns about these drills to the public safety department as needed. Haddonfield school administrators frequently convey their appreciation of the approachability, observations, and advice of our OEM, police department and fire company personnel.  Last summer, the governor’s school security task force announced a new initiative, Safer Schools for a Better Tomorrow, which specified minimum requirements for school safety and security plans.

While the schools are responsible for developing their own safety and security plans, we believe that the culture in Haddonfield exemplifies the objectives of the safer schools initiative, which are to encourage communication and build relationships between school administrators and emergency response personnel to create a safe community and school environment. For further information, contact Commissioner Ed Borden at 609-519-4003 or eborden@haddonfield-nj.gov or Dr. Perry at 856-429-4130 or rperry@haddonfield.k12.nj.us.

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Maryann Campling December 18, 2012 at 02:04 AM
We have been warehousing kids in schools for over 100 years, but I believe that with ever- advancing technology that the current "class room" method of schooling will soon be going the way of dial telephones. So perhaps in the near future, academia will not call for large groups of kids in one place. Just a thought. Like everyone else, I have been trying to get my head around the situation in Connecticut for the last several days.....my heart is broken and my brain is almost numb....there are just no comforting answers. The number of unbalanced, unstable people at large is staggering and the truth is....no one is safe 100% all of the time. Hug your kids and tell those in your life that you love them....often.

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