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Principals asked to focus on safety, security prior to report

October 11, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Principals at Washington County Public Schools received e-mails Oct. 2 directing them to focus on safety and security in light of recent school shootings nationwide.

The e-mails were sent by Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Instruction JoEtta Palkovitz-Brown and Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction Donna Hanlin.

Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said she requested they be sent.

The messages requested that officials make sure school safety plans were up to date and that safety drill procedures were reviewed and practiced, according to the e-mails provided to The Herald-Mail.

Palkovitz-Brown and Hanlin asked that school doors be secured, with some exceptions, and that signs be posted for visitors to check in at the office. The e-mails requested that staff and students understand the importance of reporting suspicious activity or threats.

The request for more vigilant security at the county's schools was made several days before a report from The Herald-Mail revealed that reporters were allowed to walk undetected through some of the buildings.

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Morgan said officials are looking into what happened Oct. 5, when reporters entered the schools. She said finding out what directives from the e-mails were followed will be part of that review, along with other safety and security measures in place.

"Overall, we'll look into what needs to be fixed," Morgan said. "We're ever conscious of security and have tried to be proactive, not reactive, for some time now."

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