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McKay Recaps Monday Return, Security Overview

Chappaqua schools Superintendent gives a Tuesday community update, post-Newtown shooting and writes about security.

(Editor's Note: Below is a copy of Chappaqua schools Superintendent Lyn McKay's Tuesday update on how the district is faring in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shooting):

Dec. 18: Update from Lyn McKay

We had a good day in our schools on Monday. As I've written previously, in each school, prior to the arrival of students, we held a full staff meeting. We reviewed emergency plans and discussed how best to support all of our students.

When the students arrived, thanks to your good work over the weekend, we found them to be ready for school. All of our principals spent the day walking hallways and visiting classrooms. They reported that the day ran smoothly and that it looked, in almost every way, "like any other school day."

Of course, we know that it was not any other school day. We will all be thinking about Friday's tragedy in Newtown for a long time to come, and we know that events such as this naturally raise concerns and questions about the level of preparation closer to home. I want you to know that I had a good meeting with our Chief of Police today. I can assure you that the police review and have input on district safety plans, have watched and given feedback on school emergency drills, and have practiced response techniques inside our buildings. The police also conduct around-the-clock check-ins on our schools every single day.

I know that some in our community would like more detail about how security is handled, and would like to know, for example, exactly when and how often the police check in. Our school district, however, has been told repeatedly by security consultants, "Don't publish your plans. Don't discuss them in public. Don't put them online. And change them regularly, so that they don't become obvious by repetition." Much as it challenges our typical desire for transparency, to share the details of one's security plan compromises that plan. I must even ask that those who utilize social media consider this when discussing online what you believe to be true about school security, about our police force, and even about such things as the physical layout of our schools. I'm sure you understand the danger of doing so.

Just as we do educationally, we will always strive to get better at security and we may, in the near future, ask for your input on some challenging questions. For example: Is it time to sacrifice some level of access to our schools to which we've all become accustomed for the sake of tighter security? We will be in touch, in the coming weeks and months, if we come to believe that such difficult questions are necessary. The answers to these kinds of questions should not be rushed. In the meantime, please know we are doing everything we can to keep our schools and community safe.

I will take this opportunity to remind you of some of the most basic, but still important measures in place. When visiting school during the day, you are asked to sign in and out, either by the main entrance or in the main office, and you are asked to wear a visitor badge for the duration of your visit. Even these small details do make a difference.

I want to close by pointing again to our students. On this most difficult day, they returned to school, to their teachers, to their studies, and to their friends. They laughed in our hallways and in our classrooms. We won't forget what happened last Friday, but we will move forward.

Sincerely,

Lyn McKay

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