The deadly school shooting at Newtown, Conn. is on the mind of Manasquan schools, as the superintendent offered condolences and explained how monthly drills would help students here.
Manasquan's elementary and high schools conduct monthly drills that aim to prepare students and staff in the event of a similar event, said Manasquan Acting Superintendent Robert J. Mahon.
The drills are mandated by the state, and include scenarios such as armed shooters, he said.
"This is not a fire drill," he said. Instead specific drills address hazmat evacuation, bomb threats, armed intruders, lock downs and more.
The specialty drill and a monthly fire drill lead students and staff to practice two drills monthly, he said.
"We do have plans to safeguard students when situations unfold," McMahon said. "We practice lockdowns, evacuation, active shooter drills, in addition to traditional fire drills, we do one fire drill and one other type of drill, practiced at least twice a month."
McMahon said these monthly preparations make for a prepared staff and knowledgeable students.
"I believe our staff knows how to react and are students know what to expect," McMahon said in his superintendent's report at Tuesday's board of education meeting.
McMahon also described the Newtown incident as horrific, one that likely puts fear into parents of the Manasquan school district.
"The horror of this incident and grief we all feel leads parents to wonder what happens at school," he said. "Unfortunately this kind of event is not new" but the district has had these drills in place throughout the year already.
"Let's hope we never have to put these drills into practice," he said.