Faculty review emergency plans earlier following Newtown tragedy

Currently%2C+BSM+only+has+one+security+guard.+But%2C+following+the+tragedy+in+Newtown%2C+Conn.+administrators+are+reevaluating+the+security+plan.+

Megan Beh

Currently, BSM only has one security guard. But, following the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. administrators are reevaluating the security plan.

Laura Shannon, Features Editor

In wake of last Friday’s tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 dead, schools all over America reexamined their own level of safety. Benilde-St. Margaret’s was among the many that were forced to look at their plan in case of emergency. Because of what happened in Connecticut, the school had their annual review of emergency preparedness much earlier this year.

Immediately after the massacre in Connecticut, members of the school community expressed concern about whether or not BSM’s security system was enough to keep students safe from danger. “Anytime there’s one of these horrible shootings, we get questions about our security. After what happened in Connecticut, a bunch of parents, students, and staff wanted to know about the security in the school,” coordinator of emergency planning Mr. Dave Platt said.

“The chances of anything like [what happened at Sandy Hills Elementary School] happening here are very, very slim, but we still have to prudent and cautious because the students are just so important,” security officer Mr. Jon Pachkofsky said.

The security committee met the Tuesday after the shooting to discuss the state of the school’s current system. “[In the security meeting], we took a look at the suggestions people sent in during the past couple days and reviewed the emergency plan – looked at all the best practices and new updates or technologies in the field,” Mr. Platt said.

Concern about security and the level of safety is not something new to the administration. “We’ve been working on a good security plan for over ten years. After Columbine happened, all these schools knew that they needed to have a solid plan if the unimaginable were to happen,” Mr. Platt said.

Despite the environment of fear caused by the recent shooting, the staff remains confident in their school’s level of safety. “No school is completely perfect, but I know that the people [at BSM] are doing everything they can to be as close to perfect as they can. I’d say it’s one of the safest schools around,” Mr. Pachkofsky said.

However, this confidence is not to say that the administration and staff were not affected by the heartbreaking events in Newtown. “ “What happened in Connecticut was horrible beyond imagination. I had the same reaction as every other person, but as an educator, there was an added level of putting myself in the shoes of the faculty doing anything they can for their students,” Mr. Platt said.