Safety first: Revere school committee to plan wider meeting to discuss safety and school protocols in wake of Texas school shooting

The Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two school teachers is still on the minds of everyone, especially those who work at schools in Revere and Across the country. At the last meeting of the Revere School Committee Safety and Security Sub-Committee, committee member Susan Gravallese said the school committee is planning to hold a larger scale meeting to respond to questions and concerns from staff, families, students and the city as a whole. “I want the community to know that we plan, once we have dates available, to have another larger scale safety and security meeting,” Gravallese said. “This will include Captain O’Hara, who works closely with Deputy Superintendent Gallucci and our School Resource Officers. We will also invite our chief of police and our fire chief. Committee member Carol Tye applauded the idea and said events in Uvalde had caused her to reevaluate some policies she had supported in the past, which she and other committee members might want to reconsider. “For example, I voted to have the school on election day, and after that (Uvalde) happened, I would rethink my position on that. Maybe we really don’t want strangers and kids in school at the same time,” Tye said. “Maybe it wouldn’t be wise not to go to school that day. So I’d like to hear from the experts what they say we’re doing well, what we can do better, and what we’re not doing that we need to do. Revere Public School superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly said school administrators sit down with the police chief, fire chief and school resource officers (SROs) and create plans. plans for each of our schools which are updated each year and these plans are shared with staff at the start of the school year. “They’re not something we post on our websites because we don’t want people with nefarious ideas to understand our security protocols and plans because that could actually create security risks,” said Kelly. “We don’t always put all the information out there, but there is information that we share and the school committee will remember that after the last time we had an incident like this, we organized a community meeting and the chief of police and the chief of the fire department came and spoke at the school committee meeting and we were able to pass on enough information that I think gave families a sense of security without relying on too much information and this was based on their expert knowledge. Kelly said decisions about any changes to school department safety structures are decisions that should be made between police and fire chiefs and herself and that any proposals from the school committee would feed into those changes. “But I think that’s the level at which decision-making about any changes should take place,” Kelly said. “It’s just to make sure that all perspectives are respected when it comes to security. As the committee knows, especially those who have been here for a while. There is certainly some tension between creating spaces that could feel physically safe and secure because there are security guards at every door or at a door or whatever.There are districts advocating for metal detectors at all doors and there are d Other schools of thought I openly attribute to this goal of ensuring that we find resources and support for children who show any type of social or emotional disruption that requires them to get support elsewhere outside of our schools. Kelly said there must certainly be adequate security plans with RPS’s three SROs who are in different parts of the city and are assigned to different buildings and can respond as needed. However, these plans must be balanced with a student’s ability to come to a building that feels open and friendly and welcoming and engaging. “Without a doubt, there is work we need to do in these areas,” she said. “I’m not trying to pretend that there’s nothing we can do to improve. I just want to caution against the knee-jerk reaction we sometimes have after these horrific events and people think that adding more security staff is going to prevent that from happening in our schools. I believe that having staff who all love their workplace and who want to be part of that school community and that culture and who are vigilant as to his safety plays a role in safety.Kelly added that one of the problems at Uvalde was the fact that a teacher had actually opened a door while they were going out to the parking lot to retrieve something that allowed a easy entry for the shooter.”We say time and time again that our building needs to be secured and people who don’t create a risk,” Kelly said.SRO officer Joseph Singer reassured the committee that the time to observed response to Uvalde would not perform at Revere. “As per Revere Police procedures, we are not waiting,” Officer Singer said. “My captain, my sergeant, my chief and my SWAT commander will support this 100%. We go with what we have and God forbid something happens at school, an active shooter scenario, we go with what we have. I’m sure there will be many teachers and many people in this building who will be right behind us.

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