The following letter, allegedly written by Mrs. Hochsprung, appeared in a local newspaper following 12/14/2012. It was actually written when the district installed a new security system at SH and other district schools in 2006. The newspaper simply copied the letter and attached Hochsprung’s signature to it. To see the entire explanation of this situation, see Wolfgang Halbig’s FOIA “Security System” Blunder!
Dear Members of our Sandy Hook Family,
Our district will be implementing a security system in all elementary schools as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure student safety. As usual, exterior doors will be locked during the day. Every visitor will be required to ring the doorbell at the front entrance and the office staff will use a visual monitoring system to allow entry. Visitors will still be required to report directly to the office and sign in. If our office staff does not recognize you, you will be required to show identification with a picture id. Please understand that with nearly 700 students and over 1000 parents representing 500 SHS families, most parents will be asked to show identification. (there were less than 500 students at SH in 2012)
Doors will be locked at approximately 9:30 a.m. Any student arriving after that time must be walked into the building and signed in at the office. Before that time our regular drop-off procedures will be in place. I encourage all parents to have their children come to school and return home on the bus and to remain in school for the entire school day. The beginning and ending of our school day are also important instructional times and therefore we want all our students to reap the benefits of full participation in our program.
We need your help and cooperation for our system to work effectively. Our office staff is handling multiple tasks. Though they will work diligently to help you into the building as quickly as possible, there may be a short delay until someone can view you on the handset and allow you to come in electronically. There are times during the day when office personnel are on the telephone, addressing student concerns, or in the copy room; there are other times when only one person is in the front office. Please help our staff by identifying yourself and provide your child’s name. Keep in mind we will be following our district guidelines which may need revision once we test the system.
Please know your involvement continues to be critical to our school’s effectiveness and your child’s success. We continue to encourage and value your presence in our classrooms and are counting on your cooperation with the implementation of this safety initiative.
The school district implemented a new security system in all elementary schools as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure student safety in 2006. It consisted of “a visual monitoring system to allow entry.” This system used a handset. The original author of the letter, an exact duplicate of the one that the Hartford Courant posted, said, “Our office staff is handling multiple tasks. Though they will work diligently to help you into the building as quickly as possible, there may be a short delay until someone can view you on the handset and allow you to come in electronically.” The SHS did not have a surveillance system that automatically recorded every movement in specific areas but rather a handset.
Surveillance cameras are different; they are on all the time and pick up all images whether someone is watching the cameras or not. The letter may have been included in the parent’s handbook and was reprinted by the media who attributed to Hochsprung. There was no installation of a new system. Wolfgang Halbig and his lawyer, recently engaged in a time-consuming, money-draining effort, meeting with various officials, including school officials, in an attempt to obtain a work order for an alleged new security system, probably based on what Halbig read in the newspaper which the FOI commission deemed as hearsay based on judicial precedent. One cannot bring such “evidence” in a court, which the function of the FOI Commission.