Superintendent Reassures Safety After Newtown Tragedy

Salvatore Illuzzi's letter home to parents talks about safety, how to talk to kids and more.


The following letter was sent home to parents of students in the Cinnaminson School District:

Dear Cinnaminson Parents/Guardians,

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I write this note regarding the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. As an educator, but more important, a father of two sons, an event like this shakes me to my core. I also realize that it touches our entire Cinnaminson community. Be assured that by working together we will cope with this tragedy.

As details continue to unfold, I want to assure you that your school district will continue to evaluate and re-evaluate all school security measures and to make sure that we are doing all that is reasonably possible to keep our students and staff safe.

This note is to provide some information and resources for you in discussing this event with your child/children. It is also a response to questions as to the measures that we have taken over the years to provide a secure learning environment for our young people.

Talking With Your Child/Children

Most important is to reassure your child/children that the adults in their lives are doing everything they can to make their home, school and neighborhood safe for them. We can reassure you that we are doing that in your schools. Our counselors and crisis counselors will be available in our schools this coming week and we encourage any students, staff or parents who would like to talk with someone to reach out to these individuals for help.

Other suggestions include:

1. Do not minimize your child’s feelings. Stress that schools are safe places. In fact they are more secure than ever before.
2. Encourage your child to report specific incidents (threats, talk of suicide, bullying) to you, a teacher, or the school principal.
3. Discuss the safety procedures that are in our schools. Explain that they are in place to assure his/her safety and the need to adhere to same.
4. Recognize behavior that may indicate your child is concerned about returning to school and seek help from your school counselor.
5. If you have questions, seek help from your school staff or a mental health professional.

School Safety and Security

Parents/guardians have asked questions in regard to the measures that the school district has taken to assure the safety and security of their children. This note is to also assure you that the Board of Education and Administration have incorporated the recommendations of the New Jersey Safer School Initiative and the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness in its school safety plans. In some cases we exceed these suggestions. As you are aware entry into our schools and offices is by magnetic card which is supplemented by a push button/monitoring system. Each of our classrooms has what is known as a “columbine” lock. Once a room door is closed it can only be opened from inside. A door key is required to gain entrance from outside. Staff and students are told NOT to open the door for ANYONE during a lock down. To the best of my knowledge Cinnaminson is the only district in the three (3) state area that has made such an investment in classroom security.

There is a Crisis Management Plan and a School Safety and Security Plan for each of our schools and offices. These have been developed with the assistance of our Township Police and Fire Departments. They are reviewed with staff at the start of each school year as well as through the year with revisions made when necessary. There is a Fire Drill and a Crisis Drill each month when students and/or staff are in the building. The Township Police are present and monitor all crisis drills for compliance. Over the last year we have also cooperated with our Township Police in their having a greater presence in all of our schools.

As part of its Capital Project Proposal, which was adopted in December 2011, the Board of Education plans to make changes in the entry, office and classroom areas for each of our schools as a safety and security measure. As you could expect there is a significant cost tied to the proposal. We are hoping that the state will release the necessary funds so that we can move these projects forward.

No matter the above, it is only with your diligence and involvement that we can continue to have safe schools for your daughters and sons. Quite frankly we cannot do it alone and your working with us is imperative in this most important matter.

As always thank you for your support of your Cinnaminson Schools and more important at this time, keep the families of Newtown in your thoughts and prayers.

Salvatore J. Illuzzi, Ph. D.
Superintendent of Schools

Ric December 19, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Excuse me Maury for jumping back in. It is a shame that either you or Fox News is wrong. Everything I said came from this story: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/18/fear-being-committed-may-have-caused-connecticut-madman-to-snap/ But I appreciate your trying to help Jenn feel not so bad about herself. That is so nice of you and I equally appreciate you not telling Jenn what she said was wrong. So is Fox News wrong?
John December 19, 2012 at 06:24 PM
We will never know why this person did it, so disputing things about it will just make all angry, so just let it go....I know arming teachers is not the answer....guards or police may have some impact but who knows not me.....
Reform NJ December 19, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Your math is very commonplace for those from the public employees unions and we have all heard it before. If every resident only paid (fill in the blank) more dollars a year, we could get a bigger raise, avoid layoffs, hire more employees, pay for SRO’s, etc! Time and time again voters reject these referendums and will continue to do so except maybe in places like Newtown Ct agreed. You see, not everybody makes six figures a year, owns multiple properties like you and is willing two write a check, or two checks for that matter voluntarily and with a smile for higher taxes. Most of us are strapped, already taxed to death and as Jenn said; our nation is heading towards going bankrupt! Our elected officials need to act but they need to do so responsibly, not emotionally. Good debate and although I disagree with your view of this, I do appreciate it!
Paul Seymour December 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM
@Reform NJ this happened just yesterday. http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Man-Arrested-at-Sandy-Hook-Elementary-in-Virginia-184172411.html See who made the arrest
Reform NJ December 20, 2012 at 11:23 PM
My bad, looks like you make closer to $90,000 among your $100,000 plus making friends but you must admit, you’re kind of an oddity in this regard. Kind of like having no children at your age, another oddity I’m sure. I congratulate you on your duel income, no kids, and three property existences and your success as a business owner but again, you are an oddity. I due applaud your success however so please don’t get me wrong. It’s just most of us parents and grandparents are not as fortunate and don’t share your enthusiasm of volunteering to offer to pay higher taxes. And yes, I am successful but as you guessed, in the private industry. Finally, the arrest looks to be a good one but every police department and school in the country is on heightened watch the week after that shooting so I am not surprised. Let’s hope somewhere between your ideals and mine our lawmakers find a compromise that will work! Take care and Merry Christmas


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