As students throughout the metro area returned to classes Monday, several local school officials said they were stepping up security after Friday's shooting massacre in Connecticut.
Norman School District spokeswoman Shelly Hickman said Norman police have increased patrols at all school sites in the district, “not because of any threat, but because we felt it would be prudent.”
Hickman said principals met with faculty at the start of the school day Monday to discuss withteachers strategies to deal with students' concerns if the topic of the shooting should come up in a classroom. School counselors are available to talk to any student who feels the need to discuss it, she said.
Hickman said the school district advised parents of the steps being taken in a message sent out over the weekend.
“We've tried to be proactive in our approach,” she said. “We appreciate the cooperation with the police department in addressing this issue.”
In Edmond, police presence also was beefed up at all school sites.
“Edmond police have increased their presence a tall schools, especiallyour elementary schools,” school district spokeswoman Susan Parks-Schlepp said. “In addition, (Oklahoma City) police have and plan to continue to increase their presence at our schools that are located within Oklahoma City.”
In Moore, Superintendent Susan Pierce said Oklahoma City and Moore police also have boosted security at the district's schools, beginning last Friday and continuing through this week as needed.
Pierce said school officials also are reviewing the district's crisis management plan and will take suggestions from patrons. School counselors are available to talk with any students who have questions or concerns, she said.
Putnam City School District spokesman Steve Lindley said officials in that district have made information available to teachers about how to talk to kids about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings if the students have questions.
“We want to make sure that we reassure them that they are safe and to keep the explanations age-appropriate,” Lindley said. “We also have reminded them to be careful in their conversations with colleagues about being cognizant of any children that might hear them.”
The district also has reminded principals that yearly crisis-plan reviews are due by Jan. 2. The crisis plans lay out scenarios and what can be done in response. For example, there are rules for teachers, counselors and principals about what their duties are during a crisis.
Midwest City-Del City School District officials said they are using the Connecticut shooting to review their own safety measures.
“Our team met this morning to discuss safety measures for our district,” school district spokeswoman Stacey Boyer said Monday. “We will be conducting a thorough districtwide reassessment of our safety measures over the next weeks, through the month of January. We are asking staff for any suggestions they may have. We will be taking all suggestions into consideration in our planning process.”
Administrators in the Guthrie district said they consulted with local law enforcement over the weekend to discuss safety procedures. The result was Guthrie police officers visiting all of the district's schools on Monday and continuing the practice throughout the week, according to a news release.
In Oklahoma City, Friday was the final day of the district's fall semester. While some students are attending intersession classes this week, the bulk of students will return for the spring semester on Jan. 4.
School district spokesman Tierney Tinnin said officials don't have plans to change security protocols for students attending courses now or for the spring semester.
Contributing: Staff Writer Carrie Coppernoll