PORTAGE | Portage Township School Board President Glenda Owens' voice crackled at the start of Monday's meeting as she asked for a moment of silence in honor of those killed Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.
"This will make us more diligent, more aware and on the ball. We are learning some lessons, paying attention," she said.
Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia said, "All our Portage Township School family is grieving with the Sandy Hook families. The tragedy is beyond belief."
Frataccia said the tragedy that claimed 26 lives at the school has caused the Portage Township district to take a look at itself, to double-check its own security, to make sure doors are locked.
He said a voice message went out to all parents.
All schools are locked, and admission may be gained via an intercom system. School visitors are asked to no longer hold a door open for someone coming in behind them, he said.
"It is never perfect," he said of a security system. "You can never completely protect yourself from stupidity as this."
Fegely Middle School Principal Phil Misecko said precautions were taken Monday. There were extra police patrols.
"We had a heightened sense of security while not trying to scare the kids and keeping it as routine as possible," he said.
While the board was solemn Monday night, it also honored one of its own, recognizing Owens during her last meeting. Owens has served on the board for 28 years.
"She is a very consistent person, and that consistency comes from the heart," said fellow board member Bill Fekete, who presented Owens with a plaque.
Frataccia lauded her dedication, as did former Superintendent Donald Bivens.
"Thank you, Glenda, for being and caring and (for all) that you have given. You set the example of what a board member should be," Bivens said.