Vashon Island School Superintendent Michael Soltman issued a statement Friday expressing sorrow over the rampage that left 20 school children dead in Newtown, Conn., and assuring parents that the district strives to keep its 1,500 students safe.
"Though we enjoy the relative safety and isolation of our island community, we want to assure you that the safety of our students and school community is always at the forefront of our efforts," Soltman said.
"Our district and each school have extensive and thorough crisis response plans that address a full-range of emergency situations," he added. "The plans have been developed in coordination with Vashon Island Fire & Rescue and Vashon Be Prepared. We conduct a variety of safety drills throughout the year and our preparedness should be a source of reassurance to our students and families."
He urged parents with concerns or questions to contact him or others at the district. "Give your kids an extra hug tonight," he added.
According to news reports, a 20-year-old man wearing combat gear and armed with pistols and a semi-automatic rifle killed 26 people — 20 of them children — in Friday's attack at an elementary school in Connecticut. Another person, thought to be the gunman's mother, was killed in a home in town; the gunman, Adam Lanza, committed suicide.
Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered all flags in federal and state buildings to be lowered to half-staff through Tuesday.