Rocky Fork Enterprise

G-J's Scruci seeks community partnership to keep kids safe

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools Superintendent Francis Scruci continues to reach out to parents and guardians of district children following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.

He said he's doing his best to assure them that safety is a top priority.

Last Friday morning, a gunman entered the Connecticut elementary school with multiple weapons, killing 20 students and six adults before taking his own life.

Scruci sent email letters to parents and guardians Dec. 14 and 16, with the latter titled "Making Sense of the Senseless."

"As the details continue to evolve and we all try to make sense out of a senseless act of violence, we have to focus on dealing with the aftermath here in Gahanna," Scruci said. "I assure you that the district is going to be doing everything possible to reassure you about the safety of our schools and help you deal with this tragedy at home. Many of you have asked what you can do at home."

He provided a resource link to the National Association of School Psychologists at nasponline.org. It provides tips for parents and teachers, under the heading, "A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope."

Scruci said administrative staff members are reviewing the district's safety procedures.

"While we have procedures in place, it's always important to revisit and determine if there are any other things we can do to make our schools safer in light of what we learn from these terrible acts," he said. "Our principals will be addressing our students and staff and having conversations and reviewing our safety plans.

"Let me remind you that no matter how many policies and procedures we have in place, we unfortunately cannot stop these kinds of events from happening. We will, however, do everything in our power to make it as safe as possible."

Scruci said he encourages parents and guardians to have discussions with their children and reassure them that their safety is the top priority. He also requests that parents and guardian provide the schools with any information that might help avoid any potential threats to the schools, students and staff.

"I would rather be proactive and find false alarms than to not have information and be sorry for something that potentially could be avoided," he said.

The city of Gahanna shared Scruci's message on Facebook Dec. 14, noting that Gahanna and the city's police department are committed to the safety of the residents of Gahanna and of the students and staff of Gahanna-Jefferson schools.

"This commitment is built on a strong and unwavering partnership between families, GJPS and the city of Gahanna," the post stated. "It is a responsibility that we take very seriously."

Gahanna public-information officer Brian Hoyt said the use of Facebook and Twitter is another example of how the city connects with the community immediately.

"It really gives the community some place to have a conversation about what is important to them," he said.

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