School Officials, Parents Sound Off on Safety Following Sandy Hook Shooting

School officials are reviewing safety plans following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. last week.

Dropping their kids off for school this week has not been as easy for many area parents following Friday's tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

"Dropping off my daughter this morning was an exercise in self-control. I kept thinking of all those parents that won't ever do that with their little kiddos again, it was all I could do to appear upbeat and "normal," said Melina Everett, responding to a question about school safety on the Algonquin-LITH Patch Facebook page.

Several other parents sounded off Monday regarding their thoughts surrounding the Newtown, Conn. shootings and shared their concerns over school safety.

"Are there shatter proof windows on all the schools? If not in light of what happened that needs to change," Adrienne Dumser said on the Algonquin-LITH Patch Facebook page. "Possibly we've moved into the age of needing armed guards at all levels of schools now as well." 

Others said they had faith in the teachers and schools' safety plans currently in place. 

"I am a parent of two kids at LITH elementary school and had no fear in sending my kids to school today," Jennie Hayes wrote Monday on the Algonquin-LITH Patch Facebook page. "Why? Because the front doors are locked and you must be buzzed into the building in order to enter ...The staff communicates effectively with the parents as well as the principle as to what is going on during the school day."

Following the Newtown, Conn. shooting, area school officials have been reviewing safety plans and sharing those plans with parents. District 300 posted details surrounding its safety plan here. 

"D300 takes the safety of our students, staff, and visitors extremely seriously," said District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy in an e-mail to parents Friday.

'While there is no plan that can totally prevent a random act of senseless violence like this, our district has a school safety plan in place that has been developed in close partnership with law enforcement authorities and regularly practiced by our faculty and staff," Bregy wrote in the e-mail.

District 300 had psychologists and social workers on hand at schools this week for any "students who need assistance in processing" the shootings that occured at Sandy Hook, Bregy said. 

Here are more details on District 300's safety plan include: 

  • District 300 employs full-time District Safety Officer Gary Chester, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who is a former police chief and fire chief with many years of experience in school safety.  In Illinois, very few districts have a full-time security expert on staff.
  • Through Chester's efforts, the district works closely with the numerous police, fire, and sheriff's departments throughout the district's 15 municipalities. These first responders have all been provided copies of school floor-plans and have been trained on D300's internal processes, so that they know exactly where to go and what to expect within our schools in the case of an active shooter or other dangerous situation.
  • Each year, everyone who works with our students receives training on how to handle the potential for a violent situation.  This includes regular and substitute teachers, office and support staff, bus drivers, administrators, and others.  
  • Each year, D300 students and staff review and practice lockdown procedures.
  • D300 schools are all equipped with video surveillance and schools all require visitors to be buzzed-in for entry.
  • Police liaison officers from the local police departments work in all of the D300 high schools.
  • A safety hotline is available that allows students and adults to provide anonymous tips, 24 hours a day, about weapons, violence, bullying, and drugs.  The hotline number is 847-551-8477.  Tips can also be sent via e-mail to SafeSchoolTipLine@d300.org 

District 158 Superintendent John Burkey also wrote a letter to parents Friday, which is posted on the District 158 website, and shared details of District 158's safety plan. He said the school is reviewing their procedures in light Friday's shooting to see if there is anything thate can do better. 

"I have two children of my own in our district and would never put them in a setting that I did not feel was safe," Burkey said in the letter. "While Sandy Hook is at the forefront of our minds right now, we must remember that senseless acts of violence occur in many sectors of our society.  Teachers and students are safer in school than they are in most other places."

Here are some of the procedures District 158 follows to ensure safety in schools: 

  • Visitors must check in through our offices before being let through the secure doors to the building
  • District 158 practices lock-down procedures with students and staff. These are vitally important, and when done properly, a lock-down can limit an intruder’s access to students and staff, Burkey said.  
  • District 158 also works very closely with the police departments in our school district, and we regularly discuss and practice procedures for an intruder incident. 

What do you think about your school's safety? Sound off on Patch by commenting below. You can also join the conversation on the Algonquin-LITH Patch Facebook page. 


Greg Sajenko December 19, 2012 at 01:04 PM
I sent this to 300 with no response. Help ? Thoughts ? To who it may concern :   I am a father of 2 kids who attend Dist 300 schools. This past Friday (12-14-12), My son was sick and asked to stay home that day. I for the first time called the school at 7:30 am to let them know he would not be there. Usually when we have to call, there Mother  does the calling. Anyway, my point is, there is no verification of who is calling. I simply said I am Greg Sajenko, father of so and so.There was no question back to me. I could of been anyone. Including some nut planning on taking this particular kid on his way to school. If that happened, there would be no call back to the parents because someone already called the school. No one would know that there was a missing kid until 7-8 hours later. Why cant they ask for a student I.D. or some kind of security question ? Or maybe an immediate call back to a parent verifying ? This is really a big deal to me and I am sure to other parents. After what has happened at Sandy Hook later that day, I would like at least the simplest safety precautions done. One more point, My girlfriend has a son that goes to Jacobs, and earlier this year she had to call him in sick. She got a automatic recording and no call back to confirm. Really ? I would like some kind of response to this please as soon as possible.   Greg Sajenko
AC December 19, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Sandy Hook also had a security system in place where they were asking for an id and would get buzzed in..instead the boy shot out the windows and gained entry there....I dont feel like the current security measures are enough. They may have been enough prior to this incident but not after. Once our children have become the targets of these psychotic peoples rampage, the games over. We need to make changes, we need to be sure they are safe and doing the same old procedure doesnt work for me.
brian December 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Greg, are you are assuming no monitoring from the time you send your kid out the door? It is your responsibility to make sure your kid gets on the bus and everyone in the system has a responsibility to ensure safety there after. Call the office and ask them to explain why or why not following up is appropriate.
brian December 19, 2012 at 06:25 PM
moats, flamethrowers, grenades are the answer...it's in the Constitution, more specifically though, so is freedom of speech (at least this "talking and picture" does not kill anyone)!
Greg Sajenko December 19, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I said mother, not wife Dan. My point is pretty clear to most, let's not make it complicated. A simple I. D. # doesn't cost anything. And Brian, it is my responsibility to ensure the safety of my kids 24 hours a day. If I see something that will help ensure it, believe me I will try to get it.
brian December 19, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Greg, my point is only that you need to ensure that your child gets on the bus, from there the system will account for the safety of the child. In other words if you call in and your child is not at school, your child will not be there. If someone else calls in (kinda strange cause there is caller id) and if you get them on the bus and they get to school???!
Greg Sajenko December 19, 2012 at 08:01 PM
The mother calls when they are at her house, I call when they are at my house. Nevermind.
Vicki December 19, 2012 at 09:30 PM
My daughter forgot her duffle bag for practice after school this morning. I went to the high school and dropped off her bag in the office. I asked the receptionist if she wanted to look inside the bag. She said, "No, if it's for a student we don't need to see what is inside". I turned to walk away, and then turned around and asked if she wanted my name or identification. Again she said, "No. We don't need to know". So I said, " I could be anyone and anything could be in that bag. A knife, bomb, gun or drugs to sell". I watched her face change as it dawned on her too. I then went to my car and cried for 10 minutes. In no universe does my privacy trump the safety of 3,000+ students and faculty. I have a lot to do today, but this is more important. I don't know if there is a district policy, or school policy that addresses this issue. I just want to know that my daughter is as safe as can possibly be when she is at school.
Vicki December 19, 2012 at 09:33 PM
The high school would be Huntley High School, District 158.
Kathy O. December 19, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Vicki, the principal just sent out an announcement saying that they are taking extra precautions for the student's safety. Hmmmmm....Doesn't sound like it to me. That does not make me want to send my daughter to school on Friday. I am pretty concerned about the back door that always seems to be unlocked (sometimes propped open) too. There isn't anyone back there to stop anyone from walking right in. This is during and after school that I have noticed this. I'm not sure how secure they think things are over there, but they need to wake up.
Greg Sajenko December 20, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Vicki.. That is my point. Wow
jeff December 20, 2012 at 07:20 AM
Greg, You have to understand that Brian is right and your wrong and thats just how it is. He will send you an essay and spin everything so that when you reply it pleases him. He also hates teachers, veterans and successful business owners.
brian December 20, 2012 at 02:49 PM
People, don't freak out! If you see things bring them to the attention of the Administration, but realize crazed acts like this are almost impossible to stop! Do we do something...YES...finally even the payed politicians by the gun makers are sounding sensible (we shall see)! The command and control style management of the response system is really in question. It takes 5-10 minutes for police to respond to any threat to anyone on school campus, call 9-11 on your cell phone in a clear threatening situation. The cops will be on there way, if teachers wait to tell the office first, a real threat may be escalating before the police can respond! With the high capacity weapons people can get these days, in 20 min most of these acts of destruction are over!
Vicki December 20, 2012 at 04:39 PM
@ Dan-If I didn't need my full time job I might volunteer. @ Brian "the system will account for the safety of the child". Really? Read my post. I had to point out the obvious. I did contact School Superindendent, John Burkey. Still haven't heard anything from him.
brian December 20, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Vicki, I think you are mixing statements here! My statement to accountability has nothing to do with anything I said to you. The system does provide accountability (I never said it was perfect and all people who should get back to you, do get back to you). You may keep freaking out if you like, but it won't help!
Brian L. December 21, 2012 at 02:25 PM
jeff, that's the wrong brian. Capital letters count here.
jeff December 21, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Aww poor pedophile Brian is upset again. Brian don't you have a veteran to go pick on?
Nucky Thompson December 21, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Briannnnn Oh did I spell that right? Brian, Can I get your mom's number? When Steve's done I'd like a crack at that!
McCloud December 21, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Greg, its ok, you can't shoot someone through the fiber optics on a telephone line, relax. Alexander Graham Bell.
jeff December 21, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Brian knows the exact time it takes for them to get there because they call fuzz on him if he gets with in 500ft of a school.
jeff December 21, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Go away Brian your s sick man. If somebody wanted to take your kids away they would need more than BS posted on a website so don't post your lies. I have products for the cleaning industry so shows what you know.
Brian L. December 21, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I don't remember saying what you deal in and I also said that you don't make harmful products, it was just worded differently, but I'll delete it to avoid confusion. And it doesn't take much more than someone spreading a false rumor about a person being a pedophile. So please, discussions with you have been fun, but having to keep reading your insults and lies about me being in trouble with the law is just wrong.
jeff December 21, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I'll just stick to the mom jokes they seem to work well.


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