FAIRFIELD — When mass shootings in schools happen, the effects tend to trickle down to the local level as questions about safety are raised by parents.
Fairfield-Susuin School District Superintendent Jacki Cottingim-Dias understands the concerns and talked Friday about how the district is affected emotionally, but not procedurally.
“We’re shocked and I’m horrified. Anything that involves children is particularly tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected,” she said. “Right now I’m sure every parent is devastated and scared. The first place you go is, ‘Oh my god, is my child safe.’ We want them to know they are as safe as humanly possible.”
Cottingim-Dias said the schools continue to keep on guard and on alert. She said other than that, there’s not much a district can do.
“We’ve been on the phone with police. We have our crisis protocols. Beyond that and being alert, as they always are, there is no reason to suspect we are in danger here,” she said. “God forbid something will occur, police will be swift.”
As for those calling for more security, Cottingim-Dias said frankly, when faced with the reality, it’s tough to prepare for a deranged person who sets out to commit the type of violence that occurred Friday in Connecticut. She said what some people often fail to discuss is dealing with those who may be disturbed or need mental help.
“Locks are no match for bullets,” she said. “The best thing people can do when they have someone in a family or close circle of friends that becomes agitated, is reach out. Contact family, clergy or authorities. Let people know so they can do a risk assessment.”
There was equal sorrow at the Solano County Office of Education. Superintendent Jay Speck released a statement about the shooting and offered some contacts for people to use to help them cope.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, families, school staff, and community that have suffered this unimaginable tragedy,” Speck said in a press release. “All of us who work with children know how deeply affected they will be. As parents and school staff, we need to reassure our students we will do everything we can to keep them safe.”
Resources for coping with tragedy from the California Department of Education and the National Association of School Psychologists have been posted on the Solano County Office of Education website at www.solanocoe.net, and the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Solano-County-Office-of-Education/180249648698807.
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.