Local officials respond to Connecticut shooting

By 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


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


“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.”