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School Safety Addressed At Public Forum In Nashua

Sheryl Rich-Kern

After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., many Nashua parents are asking whether the school system can do more to protect their kids.

About 60 parents gathered at the Nashua North High School auditorium Thursday night for a public forum on school safety.

The high school has a good secure system, but the middle schools and the lower schools have nothing," says Deborah Lang, who has a daughter in high school and one at the middle school. "We’re not safe. Our kids aren’t safe. And I’m really nervous. I don’t want it to happen again."

Parents listened and asked questions of a panel of city officials and police staff.

Superintendent Mark Conrad acknowledged parents’ fears and said that in response to recent incidents, the school district is accelerating its plans to install buzzers at the main entrances and classroom door locks that work from both inside and outside.

But more than the physical security, he stressed the importance of a healthy school culture.

Many of the school tragedies have been at the middle and high schools and come from within the student body," says Conrad. "The most important step you can take is having a good school climate where every student feels they have an adult in the community they can talk to. So if they see or hear something that doesn’t look right, they have someone they can talk to beyond that."

One parent said it’s important to watch more closely for psychological disorders:

"Let’s face it. Most of these people who do these things it’s mental health issues or anger or things like that," says Sonia Prince. "And depression is high during a certain age and it can happen (snaps fingers) just like that."

Other parents asked questions about everything from placing concealed weapons in teachers’ desks to having more security and alarm bells in each classroom.

Sheryl Rich-Kern has been contributing stories for NHPR since 2006, covering education, social services, business, health care and an occasional quirky yarn that epitomizes life in New Hampshire. Sherylâââ

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