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Rochester

Local Schools Reassess After Connecticut Shooting

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Rochester: Local Schools Reassess After Connecticut Shooting
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In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, area school districts returned to the classroom Monday. Two districts that are taking a fresh look at their counseling and safety protocols.

Just days after an American tragedy, the flag flies a little lower in North Chili.

Down the road, mourning at Churchville-Chili Central.

"I think that's our first reaction, is to feel sympathy and empathy for their situation," said superintendent Pam Kissel.

In Greece, students are counseled to believe in the good of humanity.

"There are going to be times when things are tragic and happen in our communities and in our world,, but overall, people really are good," said Deb Salamone, a counselor at Greece.

Methods of coping after tragedy are plentiful. Methods for reacting to and preventing tragedy are back up for discussion.

"To reassure the students that it is a safe place to come, and they're very safe," said Deborah Hoeft, assistant superintendent for Greece Schools.

In Greece, trained security officers roam the multi-school campus. They are not armed.

"Our security guards, if it were to come to that point, have a process in place where if they needed someone else... they would call them, such as the Greece Police," Hoeft said.

Doors at Greece schools are locked and the district is adding buzz-in entry systems at all main doorways.

At Churchville-Chili, they've been prepared for disaster management for quite some time. A binder contains pages and pages of shared response protocol for each school and building in the district. They've taken measures within schools to increase safety - over every door outside and inside is a number, which allows first responders to know where to go in the case of an emergency.

Kissel is also President of the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents.
There are steps she says she will never take.

"I think arming teachers would be a poor choice. Our teachers go to school to learn to be educators and help our students learn and think. Thinking of them having arms in a classroom, is anti... what our whole role here is."

Both districts offer student mental health counseling and monitor student populations for troubled and at-risk youth.

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