PARKERSBURG - Wood County Schools Superintendent Pat Law issued an open letter to the community Monday, talking about school safety and last week's tragic school shootings in Connecticut.
Law said he sent copies of the letter to all Wood County principals, asking them to share it with parents and staff. The letter is addressed to "the Wood County Public Schools Community."
"In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I wanted to reach out to you and assure you that we are taking every effort to make our schools secure," Law wrote. "The staff of the Wood County School system have worked with law enforcement officials for more than a decade to make our schools as secure as possible, while still recognizing that we are an institution of public education."
Law said since Sept. 11, 2001, the school system has put into place multiple security measures at its 27 schools, including electronic key access, cameras and DVR-recording equipment to monitor campuses. The district has worked with area law enforcement and emergency agencies to develop comprehensive disaster plans, including lockdown, evacuation and shelter-in-place plans.
The school system has partnered with area law enforcement to increase the police presence at area schools, including Prevention Resource Officers (PRO) at the district's three high schools. This summer the school system hired a safety coordinator to oversee security throughout the county.
"I have sent a memorandum to our principals to make sure they review and reinforce all school security measures that are currently in place. In particular we are asking them to review those measures with regard to controlling access to our schools," Law wrote.
Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary left 20 students and six teachers dead. The accused gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, reportedly killed himself as police arrived. Before going to the school, Lanza reportedly killed his mother at their home
"With all we do to make our schools secure, I realize that there will be students who are upset about what happened on Friday," Law said in his letter. "As always, school counselors, teachers and our school administrators are available to speak to any child who may have fears or concerns about the safety of their school.
"Finally, as the father of two children and the grandfather of four young children, I am deeply saddened and concerned about what happened in a public school this past Friday. As your superintendent, I make the safety of our students and staff my first priority; a priority I share with our school board and my fellow superintendents across America."
Meanwhile, in an apparent attempt to tighten security, a sign was posted Monday on the front door of Parkersburg Catholic High School stating, "Due to recent events, all doors will be locked after 8:15 a.m. You must contact the main office at 304-485-6341 to receive access to the building after 8:15 a.m."