Area Schools Plan for the Worst - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Area Schools Plan for the Worst

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Parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School students dropped their children off the morning of December 14 for a typical Friday at school, just like parents in our area did. The events that unfolded after that could happen at any school, at any time, and the question on many minds is: how would their child's school respond in a situation like this one?

An unimaginable tragedy occurred Friday morning as 20 schoolchildren and six adults were murdered by a gunman who walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire. Frantic parents alerted by robocalls and text messages rushed to the school in hopes of reuniting with their children. Those messages and calls were very similar to what schools in this area have in place.

"We primarily use what we call a Blackboard Connect system. It's an automated system that we use that records phone messages as well as create email messages that we send out to all the parents that have subscribed to that," said Matt Haas, Albemarle County Schools assistant superintendent.

The Virginia Board of Education requires all school divisions to have a plan to put into action.

"We have a crisis plan for the division that's updated every year, that each school has their own individualized crisis plan and it include what the school, teachers, principals, etc. should do in the event that someone enters the building with a weapon," said David Jeck, Greene County Schools superintendent.

Within each of those plans lie some very specific instructions.

"It includes lockdown, getting any kid in the hallway into classrooms immediately, locking doors, taking cover," said Jeck.

Charlottesville area schools say their plans are centered on the students.

"Largely, it centers first and foremost around student safety. That's our No.1 priority," said Haas.

While schools have their response plan mapped out, the police also train to deal with school shooting incidents.

"We actually select various locations where the training will be conducted at whether it be a school, a larger building, something like an office space in preparation you know in the event that any type of active shooter were to occur," said Lieutenant Ronnie Roberts with Charlottesville Police.

The police department was not able to give specific training details, but did say that they are trained and prepared. While plans may be in place, Charlottesville area schools along with others across the country are taking a closer look at those procedures in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.

"As the facts become more clear and we learn more about the situation, we're always looking at more opportunities to make our plans better. Unfortunately, this will be one of our opportunities," said Haas.

This was clearly a traumatic incident for parents and children all around the country. Albemarle County Schools assistant superintendent says they are waiting for more details to determine the best way to handle discussing the shooting with students.

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