Two years after the school shooting in Newtown, Ct., the terms “lockdown” and “lockout” have become cemented in the education vernacular, reports the Westchester County (NY) Journal News. School administrators and police chiefs have no choice but to plan for and respond to threats made via telephone, e-mail, the Internet, social networks, or scrawled on bathroom walls. There were at least four lockdowns or lockouts in Westchester County schools in six weeks this fall.
“Safety and security has always been a priority,” said Ray Sanchez, superintendent of Ossining schools, where the high school went into lockdown during a Sept. 24 social media threat. “Over the years, we have worked collaboratively with our local police to ensure that we are aligned. We have formal meetings with them to discuss procedures, and we have them assist during various drills.” Each local incident proved unfounded. Were a shooter like Newtown’s Adam Lanza to make an attempt, officials say he might never make it inside a school building. A survey of New York school superintendents a year after Sandy Hook showed that security had become a major priority, with 78 percent saying they planned to beef up emergency response plans.