At its first meeting of 2013, the Sudbury Public Schools Committee heard from concerned parents wondering about improved security procedures in Sudbury schools in the wake of a horrific massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, in which a 20-year-old gunman was able to kill 20 first-graders and six educators before committing suicide.
“We’re not going to discuss specific plans in public, or in front of the cameras, but it will be addressed in executive session,” said Committee Chair Rich Robison, who said the purpose of being vague about the specifics of security measures is to avoid tipping off someone who may be looking for a way to circumvent those measures.
Several parents urged the committee to lock the front doors of the public schools during school hours.
“If you lock the doors, it will at least slow down someone,” resident Paul Landry said.
Landry and others said they agree with the decision not to release security details in public where they could be misused by someone intent on causing harm.
Committee members said they planned to vote on the issue of locked doors during their executive session following the regular meeting, but indicated that they favor moving in that direction.
“I am very pleased to announce that we have an anonymous donor who is willing to cover the costs of improving the security at the front doors of the four elementary schools,” said Superintendent Anne Wilson, who described the offer as “very generous.” She said officials have spent the last few weeks gathering estimates for new security devices at the front doors, but still need to clarify whether the district is legally allowed to bypass the usual bidding process for the work, which she said would slow the project down.
“There will be a noticeable change. But a school can feel very welcoming with a locked door,” Wilson said. “A locked door, or an unlocked one, is not what determines whether a school is welcoming.”
Lt. Scott Nix of the Sudbury Police Department attended the meeting and said residents with questions, concerns or suggestions about security following the Newtown massacre are welcome to contact him. Some individuals have already done so, he said.
Reports indicated that the front doors of Sandy Hook Elementary were locked when Adam Lanza used a powerful assault weapon to shoot his way through the doors and gain entrance into the building.