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MDUSD reassures parents about school safety in wake of the Connecticut shootings and anonymous phone threat at Sequoia Middle School

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, December 17th, 2012 at 7:29 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Pleasant Hill.

Northgate High students remembered victims the week after horrible shooting in Connecticut.

The horrific shooting that left 27 dead in Newton, Conn. last Friday has prompted many school and state leaders to reassure parents and the public about safety procedures in local schools.

Mt. Diablo school Superintendent Steven Lawrence sent an automated message to parents Friday informing them that district schools would review their safety plans and ensure that classroom doors are locked during the day: https://asp.schoolmessenger.com/m/?s=sezpPJxG5-g.

Three days later, the district’s safety plans were put to the test, when Sequoia Middle School in Pleasant Hill received an anonymous call at 10 a.m. Monday from someone who said: “You’re next.”

Both Sequoia Middle School and Sequoia Elementary, which is next door on Boyd Road, immediately went into lockdown, along with the elementary campus day care center. Pleasant Hill police responded and the superintendent came to the site, where no threat was found. The lockdown was lifted around 10:30 a.m.

Here is the message sent to Sequoia Elementary parents by Principal David Franklin: https://asp.schoolmessenger.com/m/?s=EPbWiAwLdQo.

Early this evening, Lawrence sent out the following automated message to all parents in the district about the incident: https://asp.schoolmessenger.com/m/?s=bLHpiNpNmrg

Karen Booth, president of Sequoia Middle School’s Parent Faculty Club, said she felt anxious after hearing about the threat and kept looking at the clock every half-hour because she wanted to pick up her kids, who are in the sixth and eighth grades. But, she said the superintendent’s message Friday was reassuring, especially since many parents don’t know their schools have safety plans.

“I like to think that cooler heads prevail when people are feeling anxious and upset,” she said. “I want to be one of those cooler heads and I feel like I need to model that for my kids.”

Today at Northgate High in Walnut Creek, the school community honored the memory of students killed in Connecticut with this message: “Remember Sandy Hook Elementary.”

Here is a link to guidance for teachers and parents to help children cope with national tragedies from the National Association of School Psychologists: http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/terror_general.aspx

Do you believe your students are safe at local schools?

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