School District Elementary School Middle High School Staff Only

District Community Forum on School Safety

Last Monday evening, December 17, the Pittsfield School District, in cooperation with the Pittsfield Parent Connection and the Pittsfield Elementary School PTO, hosted a community forum to answer questions and provide any opportunity to voice concerns about safety at the Pittsfield Elementary School and PMHS.

SAU #51 Superintendent Dr. John Freeman opened the meeting setting the agenda of the topics to be discussed. Dr. Freeman spoke of the unconscionable event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and the response of the NHDOE via a conference call with the state’s superintendents, and administrators Saturday afternoon. NH educational leaders were supported by Homeland Security and psychologists to answer questions about how best to respond to the tragedy.

After providing the group with information as to how the district would be supported with future trainings around safety and security, Dr. Freeman gave an update on district administrators’ immediate actions/decisions from Friday afternoon through Monday evening. Pittsfield principals reported on safety and security precautions at each school.

Then Dr. Freeman opened the floor to questions and concerns from those in attendance.

Some of the concerns mentioned addressed access to the schools and the protocols in place to respond to such an event. Tobi Chassie, the chairperson of the district’s Crisis Team, spoke of the process team members use to regularly review safety protocols and how the protocols are implemented. Pittsfield Police Chief Robert Wharem commented on the safety drills and the importance of students following directions pertinent to any type of event. Principals Bob Bickford and Doug Kilmister, as well as guidance counselors Jeff Martel and Mike Curtin, were also on hand to respond to questions.

After community members had an opportunity to voice questions and concerns, it was agreed that future actions to be taken in the months ahead would include an audit of current program, staff training, and follow-up meeting in the spring sponsored by PPC and PES PTO.

If you were unable to attend the forum or would like more information, contact your child’s principal, Mr. Doug Kilmister at 435-8432 or via email at dkilmister@pittsfieldnhschools.org.

Ross Morse District Community Liaison rmorse@pittsfieldnhschools.org

By Clayton Wood Email this author