TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Tippecanoe County and Benton County superintendents said there wasn't anything formal planned Monday to talk to students about the tragic shooting an an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. They said it depends on each student and how much they want to talk about it.
However, teachers and principals were well versed on how to answer the tough questions from children. Superintendents said their main concern was making the students feel comfortable and reminding them they're safe inside their schools.
"I think the mood [Monday] is one of sadness for our colleagues in Connecticut and for the children," Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Les Huddle said. "[It's] also one of heightened awareness."
Area superintendents agreed with Huddle. They said it is a time to grieve, but also a time to remind everyone how important security is.
"It is an appropriate topic even at the kindergarten level to review safety plans," Huddle said. "[Ask the kids] 'What would happen if we need to shut and lock our doors? Where would we go in the room?'"
Huddle and all other superintendents in Tippecanoe County sent letters home to parents and staff reminding them of their security routines at school.
Huddle said a buzzer system has been in place at all LSC schools for many years. At the West Lafayette Community School Corporation, Superintendent Rocky Killion said all doors at the elementary schools are locked. There is one unlocked door at the junior and senior high school.
He said more changes have been made in recent months.
"A Happy Hollow [Elementary School] and Cumberland [Elementary School] we've redesigned the entire entrances of the buildings to ensure there is entry right into the office before you go into the schools," Killion said.
Benton Community School Corporation received a lot of attention Friday after Superintendent Destin Haas chose to put the schools on lockdown after the shooting.
"I will always choose to err on the side of caution," Haas said. "Whether it's a school delay or canceling school because of weather, I'll always err on the side of caution. I'll lock down a school or lock down a building."
Haas said Benton Community Schools have also implemented some security changes in the last few months.
"All our staff are wearing name badges at all times," Haas said. "Benton Junior and Senior High School, Boswell Elementary School and Otterbein Elementary will have door-locking systems installed over break, and be ready for next semester."
Haas visited some of the schools in the afternoon. He, Huddle, and Killion hoped the day would go as normal as possible.
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