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A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (Associated Press)

A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (Associated Press)

Local officials respond to Connecticut shooting

Last Modified: Friday, December 14, 2012 6:39 PM

By Nichole Osinski / American Press

In memory of those killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach has asked that U.S. flags in the city be flown at half-staff through Sunday.

“There is an overwhelming sense of loss for the victims of this tragedy,” Roach said. “Tragic is not even a powerful enough word to express what happened. We are asking everyone in their own way to have some observance for these people and their families.”

Roach has also set aside Sunday, Dec. 16, as a day of remembrance for the residents of Newtown. At least 27 people — nearly all of them children — were killed Friday when a gunmen walked into the school and opened fire.

“There are no words to capture the grief all who know and love the victims must feel. They are also sobering reminders of the fragile nature of life, especially the lives of children,” John White, state superintendent of education, said in a news release.

“I urge that superintendents, principals and school boards continue to be vigilant in maintaining crisis management plans and the preparations necessary to implement them.”

The Calcasieu Parish School Board will likely look into its own safety policies, said R.L. Webb, board vice president. A number of schools have sheriff’s deputies at their facilities as a precaution, as well as surveillance cameras and door buzzers.

“We are just so fortunate that we have a risk management department and that we have a risk manager,” said Dolores Hicks, administrative director of elementary schools.

“We’re updated on the policies and procedures for schools and want to keep people abreast of safety issues and drills if someone does come in. We are probably going to revisit and re-emphasize what we already have in place and look to see if we have any gaps that need to be tightened.”

Calcasieu Parish has an emergency crisis plan on how to handle various threats and that educators are required to run drills to stay prepared in the event of an emergency, according to Risk Manager Skylar Giardina.

“It’s a good time to review procedures; we don’t want to wait for things like this to happen,” Giardina said. “The worst thing to do is to react in the middle of a crisis. We’re first going to get all the facts about Newtown, then go over this to see if any changes need to be made. This is a tragic situation and our hearts go out to the community.”

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