CASD on “High Alert” after Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area School District has started evaluating its security measures in wake of the second-most deadliest U.S. shooting that occurred Friday morning at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., reported Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto at Monday’s school board meeting.

A 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, opened fire, killing his mother on Friday at their home. Then, he went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults. He  fatally shot himself as police arrived at the elementary school.

“Since Friday, the administration has worked diligently to be visible today [Monday],” said Otto, who has personally visited the district’s five school buildings. “I wanted to be sure our students felt like we were there for them. I wanted to be sure our staff felt like they were there for them.”

Otto asked his team of administrators to be strong and to lead its teachers and students through this difficult time in education. He said the district’s thoughts are with Newtown, Conn., and it’s saddened by the deadly events that unfolded there on Friday.

When asked after the meeting, Otto said the district was on “high alert” with its security measures at its school buildings. However, he’s still evaluating whether or not the district needs to increase its security measures at this time.

“The wheels are still turning. It’s something that I’m still giving some thought to,” he said. “This is something for the board to discuss as well. Right now, we have to maintain our current policies with keeping doors locked at our schools, buzzing people in and ensuring they have the proper ID and credentials.”

Lanza, who executed the elementary shootings Friday in Newtown, Conn., wasn’t granted access to the Sandy Hook Elementary School. He forced his way inside and opened fire on two classrooms.

In October, local law enforcement, Clearfield County Emergency Management and the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center simulated an incident with armed gunmen at the CCCTC. They also conducted a similar drill event at the Clearfield Area High School, said Otto.

Board President Dave Glass pointed out that the district’s Architect J. Greer Hayden of HHSDR Architects/Engineers of Sharon had already prioritized security measures within his proposed building projects even before Connecticut’s elementary shooting on Friday. He said once completed, the schools will have security vestibules that require visitors to pass through two sets of entry ways. Once buzzed through the first set, visitors will have to identify themselves to gain further access to the school.

“It’s a terrible tragedy. We don’t want to overreact to one incident,” said Glass. “But trust me, all weekend this is what I’ve thought about.”

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