North Attleboro Is Setting the Standard for School Safety in Massachusetts.

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The Town of North Attleboro is setting the standard for school safety in Massachusetts. Since the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, the Town has identified school safety as an utmost priority, and accordingly engaged in a multi-year process to improve school safety. The Town school safety program, which includes the Interim Town Administrator, Police and Fire Departments, and the School Superintendent, is an ongoing program to implement best practices into school safety.

Since Sandy Hook, the Town has implemented a new district-wide school security plan; performed extensive risk assessments on all nine public schools; provided incident command training for staff; conducted school safety exercises; hired a Washington, D.C.-based security consulting firm; and most recently, equipped the School Department with professional grade radios to enable school staff to speak directly with first responders during an incident.

The purchase of these radios are part of a “best practice” solution identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland security. According to the Department of Homeland Security, communications during an emergency is a critical area for improvement for school districts nationwide. In the past week, the Town provided training to school faculty on the new radios.

“Now our schools have one more tool available to them to call for help. We simply were not going to wait for another school shooting tragedy to occur before we asked ourselves what can we do to improve,” said Chief of Police John Reilly. Reilly, as well the North Attleboro Interim Town Administrator, Fire Chief, and Superintendent of Schools serve as part of a Security Task Force whose mission is to implement best practices as part of an overall comprehensive school safety program.

“Protecting the children of North Attleboro is one of our most sacred responsibilities. We wanted to make sure that every available resource was being allocated and rather than being reactionary to another televised school incident, be methodical and deliberate in our actions,” said Superintendent of Schools Suzan Cullen. The radios being used are one of many steps taken over the past few years to improve communications and will be utilized district wide. Faculty and staff who recently completed radio training will be receiving the units in the coming weeks.