February 05. 2013 10:14PM

Moore School in Candia takes steps to bolster safety

Union Leader Correspondent

CANDIA - With school districts and safety personnel around the country striving to prevent a horror like the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary from ever finding its way into their own towns and schools, a review of the Henry W. Moore School's emergency management and crisis plan has prompted administrators to make several changes to their daily procedures.

The December shootings prompted a review of the school's policies by the Moore Emergency Management Team, a nine-member group of administrators, front office workers, custodial workers, teachers and support personnel revealed several areas in need of attention.

According to the Moore School's principal, Robert St. Cyr, the Sandy Hook shootings "put everybody on notice that we need to make sure we review what we have in place currently."

The changes put a stronger focus on three areas of school security which St. Cyr says the school needed to "pull together a little bit tighter and keep a little bit closer of an eye on." The include morning drop-off, afternoon dismissal and building access.

"We felt that we needed to tighten things up a little up without turning the place into a fortress. It's a community-based building, and we still want to be inviting and welcome to the community. It's a delicate balance that we have to follow," said St. Cyr. "Also, I don't want to make major changes for the sake of making changes. I want to make changes that ensure the safety of our kids during our procedural pieces of the day."

Under morning drop-off, students cannot exit a vehicle unless a Moore School Staff member is on duty, and they may only exit on the passenger side of the car. The school also requests that parents respect the "no idling" rule and turn their cars off when waiting.

For building access, when a visitor enters the building they will be expected to proceed directly to the main office for check-in after being buzzed in, and cannot visit a classroom or any part of the building before doing so. If the visitor is bringing something for a class or a child, it is to be left with the office for delivery by office staff.

For dismissal, parents can not wait for their children in the lobby.

For early dismissal, students will be called down to the office upon the parent's arrival. Finally, when a parent calls to change a dismissal plan, the school may call them to verify their identity and confirm details.

St. Cyr said that the reception from parents has been positive.

"I've had some thank-you notes. 'Thank you for keeping our children safe and staying on top of that.' Things like that," St. Cyr said. "Pretty much, it's been positive."