In the wake of the tragic school shooting rampage in Connecticut, New Jersey parents are voicing concerns about school safety in the Garden State.

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"Safe is a broad term, but I think our schools are prepared to respond and recover from incidents such as the one that took place in Newton, Connecticut, "Anthony Bland, the NJ Department of Education State Coordinator for the Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning, says.
"Preparedness and being safe is about making sure that teachers, students and community members understand what they need to do and what their roles are."

Leading the Nation in School Preparedness

He says, "New Jersey is one of the state's that's leading the nation in school preparedness efforts, our school security drill law is one of the most aggressive if not the most aggressive in the nation…it requires all school safety and security plans in the state of New Jersey to follow 91 items that have come from the school security task force, Commissioner Cerf, and Governor Christie."

Bland adds that in a situation of an active shooter, most schools go into lock down. They would lock the door, turn the lights off, they would put the shades up or down, depending on what local law enforcement says. "But I think it's very difficult to stop someone that has the intent, the desire, the ability and if necessary, the firearms to change the course of the schools action….We need to continue to have target-hardening approaches to school safety, so whether they're metal detectors, cameras, security guards, buzzers, those are the processes, but they will not eliminate violence and crime and the evil that took place - but they do deter."

He also says, "It's important for parents to get involved and understand what their school is doing, to keep the kids safe."