Hutchinson: Sandy Hook Shooting 'Gut-Wrenching'

The North Andover superintendent says there is "only so much we can do to prepare" for such a tragedy.

A mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut Friday morning has sent shockwaves through the nation.

As of Friday afternoon, 20 children and 7 adults were confirmed dead after a man opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"Any time you hear things like this, it's gut-wrenching, as an educator, as a patent," North Andover Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hutchinson said. "Our hearts go out to the families. I can't even imagine what they're dealing with."

But how does a community prepare for the virtually unimaginable tragedy of a possible mass shooting at an elementary school? Hutchinson said that there isn't really a way to prepare for such a tragedy.

"It's more like avoidance, how do you avoid these types of situations?" he said. "We have all of the safety procedures down, the entry procedures down, evacuation drills on occasion, lock-downs that we practice. But there's only so much you can do to prepare for something like this."

The North Andover School Department has administrators who are part of a team -- along with representatives from the North Andover Police Department -- dedicated to school safety and school emergency response, Hutchinson added.

"They help us to be up-to-date with latest thinking regarding evacuation techniques, responses and preparedness techniques as as well. In the end , you do what we've been told is best practice to do, whcih is by working evry closely with the police."

You can read updates on the tragedy on Newtown Patch.

Alison Miller DelMonico December 14, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I have been to many schools in town where gym and kitchen doors are left ajar to keep them cool. Doors are also left open on holidays when many parents come in to volunteer....it's just not safe.
NA Dad December 14, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I have to second Alison's comment here. Dr. Hutchinson is woefully out-of-touch if he thinks the schools are follwoing their security protocols. As a parent I have been able to enter and move about my child's school freely and without question from anyone. If I had to "grade" procedure adherence I would give it a 1 (not an F because North Andover desnt use that system anymore).


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