Milford Schools will review all of its procedures related to school security beginning in January, and revisions may include providing remote-operated panic buttons to staff, expanding surveillance systems and changing lockdown procedures.
The review of existing safety procedures will be taken up in January by a subcommittee, said Superintendent Robert Tremblay.
By spring, he said, all staff will be trained in additional security steps that they can take to prevent and survive a school shooting. The professional development is a sad reality, he said, referring to the fatal shooting last week of 26 young children and staff at a Connecticut elementary school.
"Never did I envision as a superintendent that we had to prepare ourselves for active shooter training," Tremblay said.
More immediately, existing lockdown procedures will be examined to determine if they are adequate. The school system may consider adopting a new lockdown procedure that allows teachers to evaluate if leaving a classroom — rather than staying put — is the best option for safety, Tremblay said.
Procedures for contacting Milford police and fire dispatchers also will be evaluated, Tremblay said. was that some school staff were not aware they could call 911 — that a heirarchy is in place for who can call for outside help.
"Some people didn't know they could call 911," he said.
Other security measures that will be reviewed by the subcommittee include upgrades or improvements to school facilities, surveillance technology upgrades, whether staff entry doors should be better controlled, and whether panic buttons should be installed at fixed points, or remote models should be distributed to staff.
Tremblay outlined the parameters of the review Thursday, in the School Committee meeting. At the meeting, School Committee members said they want to do as much as they can to protect children and staff, without turning the facilities into fortresses, or scaring children without need.
"We have to worry about the innocence of the kids," said School Committee member Donald Quattrochio.
By the end of April 2013, Tremblay said, all school system staff will receive additional training. The training will include instruction from the Center for Personal Protection and Safety in empowering people "with knowledge and strategies for preventing and surviving an active shooter situation."
In addition, staff will receive required training in management of aggressive behavior, which will provide instruction in how to prevent, manage and defuse aggressive behavior "by recognizing gestures, postures and facial expressions."
The review of policies and procedures in school security will follow on steps taken this week which are to continue, including requiring all visitors to the schools to have appointments with teachers or staff.
Tremblay described the training plan for staff as "bold."
"It's pretty hardcore. I'm committed to making this happen in the springtime."