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In wake of tragedy, Lexington reviewing school security

Posted by Brock Parker  December 17, 2012 03:20 PM

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In the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting last week, Lexington Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash said the district is taking another look at security measures in the schools.

But Ash said a number of security measures were put in place two years ago, including locking doors at local schools 15 minutes after the start of classes.

Many of the places were put in place using a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools program.

But Ash said schools are not fortresses, and they are not prepared to stop someone who is prepared to die. Ash said that it sounds like the gunman in Newtown shot his way into the building even though the doors were locked.

“I’m not going to kid you, what was really heartbreaking about what we saw in Newtown is it looks like they did everything right,” Ash said. “You could lock down your building, but if a person has a high enough powered weapon, they can blow a hole right through the glass.”

Ash said Lexington used the federal grant to develop emergency plans for multiple scenarios, from a person with a weapon at a school to a hazardous materials incident in a building. Detailed blueprints of the schools were also made available electronically to emergency responders and staff were trained for emergency practices, he said.

But in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings, Ash said school and public safety officials are taking another look at their security efforts to ensure they are doing everything they can.

Counselors are being made available throughout the Lexington school system this week, but Ash said no additional police presence was brought onto school grounds Monday.
He said a review of the district’s security efforts will be a topic at the Lexington School Committee meeting Tuesday.

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