Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

December 19, 2012

Newtown massacre leads to security assessments nationwide

WASHINGTON — For Lisa Betts and her husband, the conversation started Friday at their Silver Spring, Md., home, not long after they heard about the massacre that claimed the lives of 20 children and six staff members at a Connecticut school. How safe, they wondered, was the school their two children attend?

They ticked off its safety practices: Doors are locked. There's a buzzer system for visitors. Students practice emergency drills. Video cameras are installed.

"I think it's forced all of us to look at the realities of the world we live in," Betts, the mother of a kindergartner and fourth-grader, said of the rampage in Newtown, Conn.

Across the region and the nation, similar questions about safety have become more urgent as parents find themselves looking at their schools in new ways after one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

As investigators continue to examine what motivated 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza, safety experts agreed that school practices are uneven and that improvements may be needed in many districts.

Still, experts emphasized that preventing a tragedy like Newtown's is far more complex than installing locks or metal detectors.

"Turning our schools into fortresses is not going to solve the problem," said Dewey Cornell, a University of Virginia professor who studies school safety and cautions against solutions too specific to the Connecticut case.

Federal data show that the number of student homicides at schools has dropped.

President Barack Obama had discussions Monday with White House staff, the vice president and cabinet members, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, to examine ways the country can respond to the tragedy, an individual with the administration said.

In communities far beyond Connecticut, school leaders sought to reassure parents and students, and police were posted outside many elementary schools.

Text Only
Washington Post Features
  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 17, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 9, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 8, 2014

  • Fast, cheap test can help save lives of many babies

    As Easley did more research into her daughter's death, she learned that a pilot program had started just months earlier at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. (Easley had delivered at a different hospital in the Washington area.) The program's goal was to screen every newborn with a simple pulse oximeter test that can help detect heart problems such as Veronica's, allowing doctors to respond.

    April 8, 2014

AP Video
Business Marquee
College Sports
Pro Sports
Facebook