GREENVILLE, Maine — Parents and teachers need to be educated about identifying threats and employing safety measures in order to prevent tragedies such as the mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., according to Greenville’s police chief.
That’s why Chief Jeff Pomerleau has arranged to have a five-part video series, “Bulletproof Mind,” shown to the public in the Greenville Consolidated School auditorium beginning Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The DVD series produced by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (Ret.) focuses on topics including:
• The threat to our children.
• The five Ds — denial, deter, detect, delay and destroy.
• Gun safety in our schools.
• How to prepare for intruders.
• How to be aware of danger.
It’s designed for adults, Pomerleau said, so they can learn to keep children safe.
“I went out and found this DVD series by Dave Grossman, who has studied and personally visited all these [school shooting] scenes and drawn his own conclusions to what the actual threats to our kids are today and what [threats] lay ahead in the future,” said Pomerleau, earlier this week. “I’m trying to get the public, and particularly those tasked to the safety of our children, to look at all the information available and look at what there is to make our kids safe versus what is in the national press.”
According to his website, Grossman recommends people understand the problem of potential school shootings, have a plan to deal with shooting scenarios, train people to deal with those scenarios and keep safety plans updated.
“I’m just simply providing an opportunity for people to go out and see one view of what the actual threat to our kids is,” said Pomerleau.
Union 60 Superintendent Beth Lorigan said Greenville’s Board of Selectmen and Union 60’s school board asked to allow the use of the high school’s auditorium for the showing.
“It’s in our interest to work with the community to make sure they understand that the threats we’re facing are serious,” said Lorigan.
Even before the latest mass school shooting where a gunman shot and killed 27 people, including himself, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, the district has been beefing up security to its school building, said Lorigan.
Greenville Consolidated School, built in 1935, now has a buzzer system for entry, she said.
“Our two main entryways have a buzzer system that allows us to physically see them and determine if we want to allow them into the school,” said Lorigan.
All interior doors, including classrooms, are locked at all times, she added.
“Our hope is that, if there is an emergency, the doors are already shut,” Lorigan said.
Pomerleau said the police department has worked with the school to improve security, but refused to comment on what has been done.
“We’ve been training in response to active school shooters for a minimum of three to four years,” said Pomerleau. “A lot of schools are getting ahead of it and we’re perfecting our response the best we can.”
He said he thinks it’s important for everyone to be informed and prepared, even if he takes some criticism for it.
“It’s basically me as a local police chief walking the fine line between trying to get people to educate themselves on what the real threat to our children is and being labeled an alarmist and losing credibility,” said Pomerleau.
The first of the five-part series will be shown in the school auditorium at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13. The other four parts will be shown at 6 p.m. on successive Wednesdays. The meetings may be moved to other locations depending on turnout, said Lorigan. After each viewing, there will be time for discussion.