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Grosse Pointe Public School Superintendent Responds to School Shooting in CT

Grosse Pointe Public Schools Superintendent says safety of Grosse Pointe students is his first priority.

 

This afternoon Dr. Tom Harwood, Superintendent of Grosse Pointe Public Schools, posted a letter on the district's website addressing parents of students and the concerns that many have about school safety in the wake of the tragic shooting at a Connecticut elementary school today.

Here is the letter in its entirety:

December 14, 2012

RE:  The safety of our students is our first priority

To the parents of children in our Grosse Pointe Public School System:

Our hearts go out to the Newtown, Connecticut community on this sad day.  As our GPPSS families determine the best way to discuss this tragic event with their own children, please know that the safety of our students is always paramount.  We collaborate closely with our local law enforcement to ensure the safety of our children and staff.  We have valid and detailed safety plans for all of our schools.  And, we keep all school doors locked during the school day with buzzers to ensure only appropriate adults have the ability to enter our buildings.  We have many scheduled classroom and school activities in the coming week, so please keep our entry process to the building in mind as you wait to be buzzed into the school.  To the best of our ability, we closely monitor the entrance of outside adults in our buildings to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for our families, our students, and our staff. 

As additional information is shared through the media, your child may be exposed to the reality of what has sadly taken place in Connecticut.  The first thing that they will wish to obtain from you is an assurance that you are providing the support they need to be safe.  They may ask questions and it would be important to answer their questions based on their level of understanding.  If you need any assistance from our principals and counseling staff, please let us know and we can provide guidance and communication to you. 

It is with a great deal of sadness that I bring this news to you and my thoughts go out to the many families that are suffering from a senseless act of violence. 

Dr. Thomas Harwood

Superintendent

Grosse Pointe Public School System

Chris Esch December 19, 2012 at 06:47 PM
My wife called both our school and the police on the day of the shooting to ask what they were doing in response. Were they aware? Concerned? Patrolling the schools more closely? No, in fact they were rude and dismissive of her call. The secretary at Trombly also pointed out to my wife that "we're in Michigan, not Connecticut." Really? Thanks for pointing that out. This letter falls flat given that on the day of this event they did nothing to be more careful with our children.
Katie December 19, 2012 at 08:34 PM
'did nothing to be more careful with our children' ?? While the secretary at Trombly might need a lesson in tact, this letter seems pretty timely and thoughtful. Apparently they were aware and concerned or they wouldn't have addressed the issue - the letter specifically indicates what they do to keep children safe. And while it's the parent’s responsibility and honor to support and have appropriate conversations with their children, it looks like the GPPSS has offered assistance in this area as well.
Chris Esch December 21, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Sorry Katie, but they did nothing except send out a letter. While a thoughtful and timely letter is nice to you, I would rather have them tell us that they are aware of the situation and are being more vigilant given the fact that 20 kids had just been murdered. We talked to both the school and the police department who both indicated they were doing nothing in response.
Christopher P December 21, 2012 at 10:50 PM
What additional things would you have had them do?
Chris Esch December 28, 2012 at 03:23 PM
To start, simply acknowledge the issue. But then I would hope they would call all GP schools and inform them of the shooting of 27 people, including 20 children. Ask them to take extra precautions. Don't open doors. Have the police establish a presence at the schools to deter any copy cats. Inform the parents of the incident and the measures being taken. If a shooting like this happened at a business, precautions would be taken. Say it was an autoplant. Every plant would have heightened security. If it had been a police station, every station would be on alert. Why shouldn't he schools adopt the same uniformed precautions that kick in immediately and obviously.

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