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Review of California School Safety Plans Urged in Wake of Newtown Tragedy

A joint message from California's schools chief and top homeland security advisor urges school superintendents to review security measures.

Following the tragic elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., California's education chief and its top homeland security official sent a joint message to school superintendents across the state emphasizing the importance of reviewing school safey procedures and being prepared.

The message sent Saturday by Tom Torlakson, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Mark Ghilarducci, Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency, acknowledged the "overwhelming grief that we are all feeling after the horrific tragedy that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut," and expressed their desire "to reassure everyone in our education community that the safety of our students and staff remains our highest priority."

The message, attached to this article, was sent to county and district school superintendents and to charter school administrators.

"It’s important for all of us to take another close look at the safety plans and security procedures we have in place to reduce the risks on our school campuses and in our workplaces," said Torlakson and Ghilarducci, who serves also as the Governor's Homeland Security Advisor.

"We are writing you today to emphasize the importance of taking the time to talk with your staff and leadership about school safety in light of this tragic event," the message said. "Whether it’s a review of your security procedures or special outreach to teachers, parents and staff, any steps you can take now to be prepared for any emergency are extremely important. Some of the most heinous plots to do harm to our schools and communities have been thwarted by the simple actions of alert and preparedindividuals."

The message referred local school officials to resources compiled by the state Emergency Management Agency, accessible at http://bit.ly/schoolsafe or www.calema.ca.gov.

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