NORWALK, Conn. – Superintendent Manny Rivera said Tuesday that there will be no more “fumbling around” for words when there is a serious safety concern at a Norwalk school.
Rivera made the comment in reference to the recent lockdown at Cranbury Elementary School, which prompted then-Norwalk Democratic mayoral hopeful Vinny Mangiacopra to say communications from City Hall had been inadequate.
The lockdown went into effect when a teacher reported hearing what could have been gunshots outside while school was in session. Norwalk police found nothing to indicate a gun had been fired, but the panicked parents and media surrounding the school was described as a “circus,” according to Mayor Richard Moccia.
Rivera talked about it at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.
“Fortunately there was not a real emergency, so to speak, that took place at Cranbury but it was a very good eye opener for us as far as our own procedures internally,” he said. “It caused us to look at everything from communications, what kind of communications should go out, how and when.”
Rivera said school safety plans are continuing to develop as police assess the schools. So far, 10 schools have gotten the scrutiny. Capital improvements will be made as necessary; blinds are being replaced at one school soon, and locks are being replaced at Cranbury within a few weeks, he said.
The communications improvement will take work, not money.
“We decided we have to make our internal protocols very clear and not find ourselves fumbling around with what the wording ought to be on a message that we want to send out right away,” he said. “Have all these messages pre-developed so they can be customized and they can get it out. We can keep people abreast using our software system which really is a pretty good one in the sense that it can be customized to send messages out via text, email or phone, depending on the preference of the parents.”