EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 17, 2012

Police, school officials review security plans

A loud bang at Windham High School prompted a precautionary sweep by police yesterday morning.

People are wary, just trying to stay safe, after the Sandy Hook massacre.

“We’re all on a heightened sense of alert,” principal Tom Murphy said.

Windham High students were “sheltered in place,” an alert level below a lockdown that lets teachers continue classes. Students remain in classrooms until cleared to leave.

“There was a loud bang, no one knew what it was,” School Administrative Unit 28 business administrator Adam Steel said.

Assistant principal Bob Dawson heard the noise.

“He looked a little bit nervous,” Murphy said.

Police searched the building, a process that took less than a half hour.

“Nothing of any suspicion was found,” Steel said.

One student, who was in the restroom at the time, called her mother to make sure it was safe to come out, Steel said.

Windham is going through what every school district, every community in America, is right now.

“I’m sure every parent, throughout the country, is on the edge of their seat after Friday,” Windham School Board Chairman Bruce Anderson said.

“A lot of people were apprehensive about sending their kids off to school today,” said Brenda Willis, executive director of the 11,000-member, Derry-based New Hampshire PTA.

New Hampshire parents also are truly grateful, she said.

“They are thankful for the people in the schools and the safety plans that have been incorporated in the schools,” she said. “Everything I’ve heard is people are being grateful.”

Parents know it could have happened anywhere, even New Hampshire.

“As a parent you say, ‘Oh, my God, that could have been my own child,’” Derry Village School PTA co-president Andrea Crowell said. “My heart absolutely breaks for those parents. I have a child in first grade. Those are my child’s peers. It’s not that far away. It could have been here.”

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