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Watertown Superintendent Talks Emergency Preparedness Following Conn. School Shooting

Jean Fitzgerald talks emergency preparedness and communication following Friday's fatal school shooting in Connecticut.

Watertown Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald said Friday afternoon in the wake of a fatal school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that Watertown officials have a plan in place if tragedy were ever to strike at a school in the city.

“First, let me say our hearts go out to the people of Newtown,” Fitzgerald said. “We have no reason to believe this is anything but an isolated incident.”

News reports Dec. 14 indicate 27 people were killed Friday morning in Newtown, Conn., when officials say a 24-year-old man opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In light of the incident, Fitzgerald spoke to Patch Friday about emergency procedures in place within the school district, including use of its iAutoAlert system. Similar to a reverse 911 system, iAutoAlert would notify parents were an emergency to occur. The system is also currently used to communicate school closings and other information to parents, Fitzgerald said. 

Watertown school officials, with police and fire officials, also have a critical incident team in place to handle any emergencies. Teachers also practice lockdown procedures with students, Fitzgerald said, though those procedures are not publicized for safety reasons, she said.

Friday’s incident is a reminder that parents should log onto iParent and update their contact information, Fitzgerald said.

“I think it’s a really good idea to remind people to check that their contact information with the school is accurate,” Fitzgerald said. 

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