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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Few local changes since Connecticut tragedy

  • Saline County schools are reassessing security protocol since the Newtown, Conn., massacre.
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    Since the Connecticut tragedy the Carrier Mills Police Department has an officer walk through the schools several times a day. In Harrisburg there is a uniformed police officer at each of the schools, but only for this week. At Eldorado Elementary it is now policy to lock each classroom door while children are present.
    Everyone is reviewing emergency plans already in place. There is not much room for changes. "We have met with our emergency team briefly," said Ryan Hobbs, principal of Eldorado High School. "But we haven't made a whole lot of changes. We are checking the doors more frequently," he said.
    Counseling has been made available to all who seek it, both children and parents.
    Harrisburg School Superintendent Dennis Smith made an announcement to all parents of students on Sunday evening using the snow day communication system.
    He said that the school system would welcome anyone who wants to talk about the Connecticut tragedy to contact the school.
    "All our doors are locked down except the front door," said Hobbs. "I feel we have an appropriate plan in place but we are looking for ways to improve it. We have a newer building with fewer doors and that makes it easier to secure."
    Principal Randy Smithpeters of Harrisburg High School said, "On Jan. 2, 2013 during the teacher's institute we will meet with Harrisburg Police Chief Bob Smith and Harrisburg Fire Department Chief Bill Summers and talk about ways to improve."
    On the counseling side, Bryce Jerrell, principal of Carrier Mills Grade School said there are plans to have the local children write to the students in Connecticut. "But," said Jerrell, "right now we are not sure who or where to send the letters."

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