Minot Reacts to Tragedy in Connecticut | VideoJulie Leonardi | 12/14/2012
"Sheer shock and sadness for the people involved, and you just wonder, you feel safe here and then you wonder, well something like this could happen here so it makes you think twice." said Michelle Hemstead, fifth grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary.
Mark Vollmer, Superintendent of Minot Public Schools says the school systems have a thorough plan for emergencies.
"We have very detailed emergency plans for every building. Those emergency plans vary building by building, depending on the grade level of students, the location of the buildings. It`s sort of an all encompassing plan that we would use in the event of any type of emergency.”
With school reconstruction in process, teachers say they take extra precaution in the temporary buildings.
"I do lock my door and I`ve done it since we started here at the FEMA school, just in case you see anything unfamiliar around, feel unsafe, my door is locked and I will pull it shut if I notice anything strange in the hallway or any strange person. But, I have not had to do that just yet,” said Kathi Tillema, third grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary.
Vollmer explained, "As we build the buildings or remodel buildings after the flood, building a new Erik Ramstad Middle School, we spent a lot of time looking at what the safety recommendations are that are current and what is the best way to design a building and build a building that would be as safe as possible.”
A few teachers at Longfellow Elementary met informally today to discuss, are they safe? Should they re-visit some of the precautionary procedures they`ve discussed earlier in the year for tragedies like this? And are their kids safe?
"You send your kids to school thinking they`re going to be safe there and then something like this happens and it totally changes your perspective."
"Over the years we`ve seen different kinds of violence, threats, and it has been a wake up call for schools all around the country that we need to make sure we do everything possible to protect our children," said Vollmer.
Although it will take time to process this tragic event, those in Minot have their thoughts and prayers with the victims in Connecticut.