Sandy Hook's impact on school safety procedures in Central Virginia

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Four years ago, 20 elementary school students and six teachers died as a result of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Local school administrators say the shooting impacted the safety protocols in Central Virginia.

"You can't imagine something like that is going to happen, and when it does, you're in shock," said Ed Gillaspie, Assistant Superintendent for Charlottesville City Schools.

Some school districts made changes within months of the shooting.

"We partnered with the Fluvanna County Sheriff's office, and in February of 2013, they conducted a vulnerability assessment on each of the schools. They provided in-depth feed back to the district, and to each of the schools," said Don Stribling, Director of Student Services for Fluvanna County.

Albemarle County officials say they upgraded door locks on each classroom, and made "controlled entrances" so visitors can only enter through certain doors.

"It can fairly be said that both of these projects were accelerated following Sandy Hook. The last four schools to have their entrances enhanced will be funded by the recent bond referendum," said Phil Giaramita, a Communications Officer for Albemarle County.

Charlottesville City School officials say they also upgraded their door systems.

"We're also putting in a visitor management system, which allows us to do sexual offender background checks, print badges, and check our visitors a little bit better," said Gillaspie.

School officials say there's no way to predict something as terrible as a mass shooting, but say they will never stop trying.

"You're constantly evaluating and looking at what you're doing, and making sure you are as prepared as you ought to be. You can't possibly prepare for every single thing that can happen, but what you can do is make sure that you are properly prepared," said Gillaspie.

"Education is all about learning, and if you think you know everything, than you haven't even begun the fight," said Stribling.



 
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