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Safety First After School Shooting

Security addressed at St. Anthony's, Huntington schools Friday after mass shooting shakes nation.

A single visitor’s entrance with locked doors and a vigilant staff guard the entrance to Huntington High School. But first you have to get past the security booth that stands between the street and parking lot.

It all sounds formidable. But in the wake of Friday’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school where 20 children and six adults were killed, schools around the region re-evaluated their security and emergency measures. 

“This is the type of tragic and senseless event that easily upsets children and adults alike,” said Huntington Superintendent James Polansky, who also sent an automated message to district parents. “As such, all staff members were provided with information on strategies to help children cope and on how to reassure them in response.”

Polansky said emergency plans are reviewed annually district-wide to ensure that they are complete and that they reflect current staff and building situations. Plans are shared with the Suffolk County Police's Second Precinct and local fire department. 

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"Drills are held in the buildings, followed by a reflective process, to ensure that students and staff have an understanding of their responsibilities should an emergency occur," Polansky added.

Huntington famously shut down Jack Abrams Intermediate School in July 2010, citing safety safety concerns after gang-related violence erupted nearby.

The South Huntington School District coincidentally addressed security at Wednesday's Board of Education meeting when board member Nick Ciappetta said that the district had decided against erecting a security booth near the high school parking lot. 

Whitman High School was locked down Thursday after a senior was critically injured in a fall from a third-story window. It was not believed to be a criminal incident.

At nearby St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, Principal Bro. Gary Cregan met with administrators and security staff Friday and will continue to meet daily next week concerning school security and the impact the tragedy will have. 

“It’s hard to even fathom why evil can reside in the human heart to such a degree,” Cregan said. “It brings one to one's knees to plumb the depths as to why someone would do this.”

Pam Robinson contributed to this report.

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Karen December 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Absolutely.....Come to Finley, see for yourself....
Pat December 16, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Do you know how to read? Where in my comment did I suggest that you could not neasily purchase guns in Huntington or anywhere in our country. I would like to see all guns banned from our country. Having guns in the home is an accident waiting to happen or worse as we have seen. You don't see this type of thing happening in countries with very strict gun control. In Ireland only certain police units even carry guns; the average police officer does not. We will always have evil people and mentally ill people with us, but when they have access to guns, the carnage is greater. The number of injured and the number of fatalities are higher.
Ranger Sewer December 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Pat: Have you ever thought of BANNING THE CRIMINAL and not the Gun? Can you tell me what gun law in CT stopped this CRIMINAL from all the murders? He willingly broke the law to do what he did. How will YOU stop a criminal from using a firearm? What is YOUR favorite protection that YOU would use to protect your family? Is there something better then a LEGAL firearm owner to stop a rape then a Gun? What is it?
Bebe December 17, 2012 at 03:37 AM
The guns used in the crime were legally purchased - by the shooter's mother. The shooter, her son, had emotional problems and a troubled past. Perhaps what also needs to be brought into the open is the mental health issues that contributed to this horrible act.
Pat December 17, 2012 at 01:37 PM
85 people in the United States are killed each day through the use of guns; over 3.5 an hour. A man who was pheasant shooting this week tripped and shot his son in the back of the head; had his gun not been a pellet gun his son would have been dead.

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