Bellmore-Merrick schools react to Sandy Hook shooting


Bellmore-Merrick parents and school officials said they are mourning the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, with the mass murder in Newtown, Conn., prompting local administrators to examine security procedures at the 19 schools across the Bellmores and Merricks.

On Dec. 14, a person identified by authorities as Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their nearby Newtown home before driving to the school. After murdering the students and employees, he committed suicide.

Nearly 100 miles away in Bellmore-Merrick, school officials sent letters and messages to parents expressing sorrow over the “unthinkable act of violence,” as North Merrick Superintendent David Feller said. They also described ways that administrators are helping students cope with the news of the murders, while reviewing their safety procedures.

School security scrutinized

In a message to Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District parents, Dr. Henry Kiernan said he and other leaders send their condolences to all affected by the tragedy. He also said the nature of the incident prompted officials to take a closer look at school security.

“In reflecting on these heartbreaking events, our administrators reviewed and updated each building’s safety and security plans and are working with all staff in this regard,” he said. “This district remains committed to educating all of our students in a secure and safe environment.”

In at least one district school, that meant changes to door procedures. Sanford H. Calhoun High School Principal David Seinfeld explained in an email to parents that he spoke with students on Monday about changes that school officials are making in regard to entrances and exits, noting that faculty and staff would continue to ensure that students felt comfortable and cared for at Calhoun.

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