IN THE wake of the Newtown school massacre, the issue of safety surfaced as a major topic Saturday at the first community forum on the district's plan to close dozens of schools across the city.

The forum at South Philadelphia High School drew about 300 people - parents, teachers and activists - and began with a moment of silence honoring the 20 children and six teachers slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The district's new chief safety officer, Chief Inspector Cynthia Dorsey, vowed to put in place "extra processes, strategies so that our students, our administrators can be in a safe environment ... and keep intruders and suspicious persons - keep those situations away from our students."

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