Officials Recommend Training in More Proactive Approach to Handling Violent Incidents in Schools

Officials who help shape school safety policy in New Canaan are recommending training for all district staff in a new way of preparing students for violent incidents. 

Members of the district’s Crisis Advisory Board, or ‘CAB,’ told the Board of Education last week that the powerful experiential training they’ve undergone in a more proactive approach to handling situations such as shootings should lead to new “lockdown” procedures at all public schools. In traditional lockdown drills, children go into a classroom and teachers all follow the same procedures, South School Principal and CAB member Joanne Rocco told the Board of Ed at its regular meeting Dec. 3. Those steps include “locking the door, pulling down the shades, turning off the lights and students would all go into one corner of the room where they weren’t visible and would just wait,” Rocco said. “So that was the traditional lockdown,” she said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.

‘We Have To Figure Out an Answer’: Need To Expand ‘Covia’ Building Complicates First Selectman’s Proposal for Combined Board of Ed-NCPD Home

The commercial building at the corner of Grove and Elm Streets downtown—a structure that New Canaan’s highest elected official has eyed as a possible future home for both the Police Department and Board of Education—isn’t big enough, as it is, to accommodate both agencies. An addition would need to be put on the ‘Covia’ building at 258 Elm St. to house them, and that may involve acquiring two properties to the south that are owned by Stamford Hospital, or else building east into the Lumberyard Lot, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. In any case, finding a way to make the 28,000-square-foot Covia building (which is for sale) work for both agencies is preferable to renovating the existing Police Department on South Avenue or building a new one while continuing to pay about $300,000 in annual rent for the New Canaan Public Schools’ administrative headquarters. 

“It’s kind of complicated,” Moynihan said Thursday during a press briefing in his office. “This [the Covia building] is my preference, it’s a modern building.