Glen Cove School District superintendent Joseph Laria reacted Friday to news of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., directing principals to review their schools' emergency plans and announcing that police training exercises will be held at Glen Cove High School during the Christmas break.
Laria said all principals have been asked to use any available social worker staff, guidance and grief counselors and psychiatry staff to deal with the shootings' impact on students in the coming days.
Each principal has been instructed to be in contact with the Glen Cove Police Department and chief William Whitton, and if further help is needed, to contact the Department of Homeland Security's emergency response center at 516-573-8440.
Flags at all schools will be flown at half staff until Dec. 18 in accordance with President Barack Obama's order.
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Laria said that the district's current security protocols require all doors at each to school to be locked, with security check-in desks at the front and side entrances for any visitors.
"Every school has emergency plans ready to be implemented in case of the unthinkable," Laria said.
He said the tragedy is cause for emotion among school administrators and educators.
"It's very emotional. The President of the United States went on air and was crying," Laria said during a return phone call, having missed a reporter's initial rquest for comment as he watched the President's reaction to the tragedy on television. Laria said school employees experience such an incident in a very real way.
"We live vicariously through that," he said. "It reminds us that we live in an imperfect world, and we need to be prepared. The important thing is, children are very impressionable; they get scared. We're asking parents to give them reassurance, to help them feel safe and secure."
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