SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP/AP) – Public schools everywhere reassessed their safety after the 2012 massacre of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
A new National Center for Education Statistics study found 88 percent of public schools now have a written plan of how to respond to an active shooter, and about 70 percent hold practice drills.
About 8 in 10 public schools that were surveyed now have parent notification systems which send texts or alerts to parents when an incident occurs. That’s compared with about 6 out of 10 four years earlier.
And even before the Newtown massacre, schools had been working closer with police officers. Springfield security expert John DeBarge has seen more schools looking for emergency services consulting throughout his career. “Whether they’re going to be in an inner city setting, whether they are going to be in a suburban setting or even a rural area. Violence unfortunately can happen anywhere,” DeBarge said.
65 percent of schools reported at least one violent incident, which includes fights, robberies, rape and threats. That’s down from 74 percent in the 2009 to 2010 school year.
Springfield public Schools have invested over 1 million dollars into upgrading their security systems over the past several years. That includes cameras, buzzers, and personnel.