Lehigh Valley

Recent tragedy makes room for reevaluation of school safety

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The recent tragedy at a Florida high school is prompting conversations nationwide on school safety.

In the Lehigh Valley, the Allentown School District Superintendent weighed in, explaining how he's working to ensure children are in the safest environment possible.

Coincidentally, ASD Superintendent Thomas Parker is at a national superintendents conference this week, so he was surrounded by other district leaders when he learned that a 19-year-old opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, killing 17 innocent people.

"We all recognize that just as it happened in that city on that day, any of us could be experiencing those issues in our district," said Parker.

Parker says the superintendents discussed the mass shooting with heavy hearts, the conversations quickly shifting to active shooter policies.

"It forces us to kind of reconsider and reevaluate our safety processes and protocols," said Parker.

Parker says the discussions focused on how school districts partner with local law enforcement agencies to develop safety procedures but also on how superintendents, as top leaders, must work with their staff to try and get ahead of any potential threats.

"Address and manage students that may be having challenges but also how to recognize early when students may be experiencing trauma and head that off by providing some additional support," said Parker.

He says in Allentown, they'll be reworking some of the current policies over the next few weeks, but for now he and fellow superintendents are together at a conference in Nashville, Tennessee that feels more like a funeral.

"We all mourn for the loss of life," said Parker.

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