The Washington Post

Fairfax assures parents about school security

After the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, officials in Fairfax County sent a message to parents about school security measures.

A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (Melanie Stengel/AP)

Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman John Torre said that a number of security upgrades have been added to schools across the county in recent years. Most schools have an electronic entry system and self-locking doors, Torre said.

Visitors to schools are required to register at the front office and are escorted around the property by a staff member.

At middle and high schools, a Fairfax County police officer is on duty during school days. In addition, security guards patrol elementary schools and all school facilities after hours, according to the message sent to parents.

No schools have metal detectors by the entrances, Torre said, but many schools are equipped with hand held detectors for checking bags.

Parents and guardians of school children received the e-mail message Friday afternoon. Families may also opt into receiving text messages on mobile devices for alerts from the school system, Torre said.

This latest outbreak of school violence in Connecticut comes after a loaded handgun was discovered inside a teenager’s locker at Robinson Secondary School in central Fairfax earlier this month.

It was later determined that Robinson students were never in danger and that a female student had intended to take the weapon home to solve troubles in her neighborhood.

The message to parents on Friday ended: “Our thoughts are with the families and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the residents of Newtown.”

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.


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