Bensalem School District, police detail school safety plans ahead of upcoming academic year

Annie McCormick Image
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
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Local law enforcement officials and administrators from the Bensalem School District met with the public as reported by Annie McCormick during Action News at 11 on August 21, 2018

BENSALEM (WPVI) -- A sobering conversation on school safety ahead of the first day of school at Bensalem High School Tuesday night.

"We can't attend to our mission to teach, learn and process unless we're all safe," said Superintendent Sam Lee.

Shootings like the Valentines Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida have prompted changes everywhere.

Bensalem School District has long had a strong partnership with local police.

"We're constantly working with the district. We have 24/7 access to the superintendent, and him to me, to the social workers to police supervisor, said Director of Public Safety Fred Harran.

If there is an active shooter, Bensalem police will immediately enter the school.

Police have around the clock access to the school and surveillance and strict visitor policies, they hold multiple drills and lockdowns. They recently purchased tourniquets and equipment to help respond. This is all in addition to a task force built to deal with school threats.

"The message is that their kids are safe. We want to make sure they know that, but if they have any suspicions at all they should report it. They should not be worried they're overreacting," said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.

Officials and students also stressed the importance of keeping an open dialogue on mental health.

"Everyone wants to prevent casualties, but it's more of the safety of the students and their mental health. Make sure they're sane and feel OK in themselves," said Madelyn McCabe, Bensalem High School senior.

Controlling the information released during incidents through law enforcement social media is another tool Bensalem is utilizing to stay connected.

Harran said none of the information shared Tuesday compromised any potential responses.

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