December 19. 2012 12:49PM

Londonderry schools take closer look at security measures

Union Leader Correspondent

LONDONDERRY - In the days after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Londonderry police have maintained a visible presence at the district's six schools.

During Tuesday night's school board meeting, Superintendent Nathan Greenberg shared details of the precautions being taken in response to last Friday's tragedy. On Friday afternoon, local police officials immediately called Greenberg and sent officers to each school. The superintendent then immediately called an administrative meeting to discuss school security measures.

On Saturday, administrators participated in a telephone conference with Gov. John Lynch to further discuss which options were available, and over the weekend, emails were sent with lists of resources for administrators, faculty and staff members.

"We went through all the facets of our current protocols and identified the areas we felt it was important to address," Greenberg said. "Some of them are short-term quick fixes."

Administrators will meet again for further review on Thursday. Greenberg noted that all schools currently have emergency plans in place, and staff and students practice their responses to different threats on a regular basis. Security cameras have been inside the schools for nearly a decade, the superintendent said, and the elementary and middle schools are equipped with buzzer systems.

At the high school, which doesn't currently have a buzzer system, there are always two staff members posted at the front entrance to screen visitors, along with the school resource officer.

"We've slightly changed our protocols surrounding people buzzing into the schools and the questions we ask them," Greenberg added.

School board chairman John Laferriere urged parents to communicate freely with their children's teachers, noting that those with questions or concerns may contact the board at any time.

Middle School principal Richard Zacchilli said his school held its holiday concert last Saturday, immediately after the incident in Newtown. "There were about 600 kids there and 1,500 parents," said Zacchilli, noting that two Londonderry police officers remained on the premises throughout the event. "I think everyone felt safe and secure even though it was a difficult day," he said.