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Rochester

Superintendents and Local Safety Officials React to Shooting

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Rochester: Superintendents and Local Safety Officials React to Shooting
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In the aftermath of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, school safety has become a national discussion.

"We will probably have to rethink the issue of school safety and school security because this clearly takes it to another level," said Monroe County Director of Public Safety Stephen Bowman.

Parents and school districts around the country faced with the same question: are our schools equipped to deal with this type of emergency?

"In most cases these things don't last very long, they're over in a matter of minutes, and that first response by those there is critical," said Bowman.

In a press conference held Sunday, Rochester City School Superintendent Bolgen Vargas assured families that school continues to be the safest place for their children.

"Tomorrow we will be prepared and ready to receive their children, to protect them, to educate them, to listen to them, that will be part of our work because some of our children will have questions," said Rochester City School Superintendent Bolgen Vargas.

Mayor Tom Richards says while devastating, the Newtown shooting is a scenario they have been long prepared for.

"A set of procedures within the schools themselves for what they would internally lockdown how they would notify the police department and what the police department does in responding," he said.

In addition to basic security measures already in place, Monroe County's Director of Public Safety has trained staff on emergency plans.

"How are we going to rapidly organize, rapidly address these issues," said Bowman.

The school district says although they won't go into specifics, to protect the students, there are safety measures in place to secure the schools and additional drills for staff to follow in case an assailant did enter the building.

"What might have appeared to be just another one of these drills you have to run two days ago, sure isn't that now," said the mayor.

City schools will offer counseling services Monday and help students feel at ease.

"Schools are the safest place for children to be, even after this terrible incident that's still true," said the superintendent.

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