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Yorktown Schools Reassure Parents About Student Safety

Yorktown Superintendent Ralph Napolitano said the district will be reviewing school safety and emergency response procedures.
Yorktown Superintendent Ralph Napolitano said the district will be reviewing school safety and emergency response procedures. Photo Credit: File

YORKTOWN, N.Y. ? Yorktown schools will review emergency plans in light of Friday's shooting in Newtown, Conn., but Superintendent Ralph Napolitano believes the problem goes beyond increasing security.

"During my lifetime, I have watched in amazement the deterioration of responsible, respectful and civil behavior," Napolitano said in a letter to the community. "Although we talk about it more than ever, the application of these principles doesn’t seem to stick beyond the talking stage. Society has born and bred a new kind of 'monster-coward' whose evil is unprecedented.

"I want you to know that despite my distress, we are and remain committed to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of our students and staff," he continued. "Nothing will deter us from this primary responsibility. Our administration, faculty and staff would respond with equal courage and compassion as the heroic educators in Connecticut."

On Monday, Yorktown will review its district-wide Building Level Emergency Teams, which are in every school. The district will also review entry and departure protocols with its staff.

"We will continue to monitor and take appropriate steps to help ensure the safety of our population and buildings. In this we are steadfast and of one mind," Napolitano said of his relationship with local police and town officials.

Napolitano said children may be afraid about the shooting and said its important for parents to be a source of comfort.

"Please remain calm in your discussions with them," he said. "Do not exacerbate their fears with your own. Please do not let them watch the horror of the media coverage of this event. This will only serve to distress them further."

Napolitano asks for parents to call school psychologists if they notice a change in their child's behavior. Phone numbers of all psychologists are listed in Napolitano's letter (attached below).

"If we simply add more security measures without looking at the root causes of these societal problems, we are spinning our wheels," he said. "We need your support and understanding and attention to the big picture – violent video games, inappropriate use of the Internet and other technology, alcohol abuse, cyber-bullying and more, all warrant our time and attention.

"Please keep the Newtown community in your thoughts and prayers. Their pain and suffering is unimaginable. In solidarity with the educators and parents there, let us strive to do all that we can to make sure that these unthinkable events cannot ever occur again."

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