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December 18. 2012 10:18AM

In wake of Conn. massacre, Nashua expedites new locks and entry systems for schools

NASHUA - After discussing a number of issues related to last Friday's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, the Board of Education on Monday night decided to expedite the installation of buzz-in entry systems and classroom locks in the city's elementary schools.

Superintendent Mark Conrad said concerns have arisen since the shooting because Nashua's elementary schools keep their main entrances open.

The board authorized the administration to seek bids on the locking systems, which are part of a broader security upgrade that is to be completed before the 2013 school year.

The motion passed unanimously. Conrad will return to the board during a special meeting on Jan. 2 to present options on contracting with an installer.

"I want to reassure the public that we continue to look at our planning for emergency response," Conrad said.

But he noted that security is only one piece of addressing violence at schools: "Sandy Hook Elementary had in place the same system we will be installing, yet it was not enough to prevent the tragedy there."

Conrad reemphasized the importance of positive social climates in the schools, where every student has at least one adult figure to turn to in case of trouble.

Board member Steven Haas said the most important part of securing the schools is the human element.

"We need to be aware of people who start to withdraw or behave in a different manner," Haas said. "That's the human element that we can work on - it doesn't cost us a dime."


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