In response to safety concerns, Anchor Bay Schools stepped up security early this week in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, district officials said Wednesday night.
After the Friday shootings in Connecticut, Anchor Bay Schools discussed plans over the weekend to help ease parent and faculty fears. Among the decisions was to provide a non-threatening police presence when school resumed. The district also is implementing additional security measures like requiring SAC program parents to show identification while dropping off their children in the morning for the daycare program in locked schools, according to the district.
"It increases building security even before the school day starts," Superintendent Leonard Woodside said at the Board of Education meeting in Anchor Bay Middle School North.
Woodside pointed to existing security protocols like sally ports and public entrance through office doors only. He also praised the district's relationship with New Baltimore and Chesterfield Township police departments in helping respond to public concerns.
Police presence at schools
Beginning Monday, New Baltimore Police Chief Tim Wiley said he and reserve officers visited schools in the district to show staff, parents and students they were nearby.
"It really is an unprecedented situation, especially in an elementary school," Wiley told the board of the tragedy in Newtown. "Everybody sort of deals with things differently...The purpose for us having uniformed police officers in the district was for peace of mind."
New Baltimore Reserve Office Patrick Wisniewski, an active-duty Air National Guard military police officer and Anchor Bay Schools parent, said he was pleased to visit the schools.
"I'll do this as long as the school board wants it done," he told the board.
Options for discussing tragedy
Woodside said some district parents shared they would like the tragedy to be addressed at school while others wanted to tell their children on their own accord. For students who felt like talking about it, counselors and social workers have been on hand, he said.
The district issued a statement Monday morning to Patch and on its website about safety concerns. Nearby L'Anse Creuse Public Schools and New Haven Community Schools issued statements Friday about school safety in the respective districts.
School Board Vice President Janine Accivatti-Hendershot, who has a 5 year old in the district, said she was pleased Anchor Bay left it up to the parents to talk about the difficult subject with their children and thanked Wiley for providing police presence in the schools.
"I didn't want to send my kid to school fearful," she said, thanking Wiley for visiting the schools. "I appreciate that we did this over some form letter...It's more personable."
The board also held a moment of silence in honor of the victims at the beginning of the meeting.
See More on Patch
- New Baltimore to Celebrate New Harbor, Patrol Boat
- New Baltimore Police Conduct Raid in Ongoing Investigation
- Chesterfield Police Layoffs on Hold, Jewelry Store Robbery, Security Upgrades at Anchor Bay
- Anchor Bay, L'Anse Creuse Superintendents Among Highest Compensated in Michigan
- Anchor Bay Schools to Install Electronic Door Locks