RIEMA’s school safety plan ‘protects RI’s most vulnerable’

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Monday marked the third anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

On that day, 26 people, including 20 children, were killed by a single gunman.

As the nation continues to mourn the unthinkable tragedy, local authorities told Eyewitness News they have plans in place to keep kids safe.

“It does serve as a constant reminder,” said Alex Ambrosious of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. “It was very tragic.”

Ambrosious is the assistant external affairs officer for the RIEMA. He said in 2013, the agency – with help from the Department of Education, State Police, fire marshal, and Department of Behavioral Health – created safety guidelines for all schools. The guidelines are part of the “Rhode Island Model School Safety Plan.”

The goal of the plan, according to Ambrosious, is to offer the best safety practices for local schools in writing.

“We feel that the state is very prepared,” he said. “Each school and each school district is unique and so they’re all going to have different plans.”

He said the plan is strong because it requires every school to conduct an annual assessment of its own safety plan.

“Many Rhode Island cities and towns are very close knit communities and they’re all very well aware of the goal that is, basically, to protect RI’s most vulnerable – and that’s the students,” Ambrosious said.

The RIEMA works directly with cities and towns when it comes to reviewing safety practices.

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