STUDENTS AT George Washington Carver High School started their Monday with a CNN Student News special about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
A one-minute moment of silence also was held to honor the victims in Newtown, Conn.
"I'm sorry for the families that lost children," said Tysheara Hill, 18, a senior at the North Philly school.
District officials moved into action Monday to make sure that a Newport-type killer couldn't shoot his way into any Philadelphia public school.
Chief Inspector Cynthia Dorsey, head of the Office of School Safety, said the district was "on high alert." Among the district's enhancements:
Philadelphia police working near schools and on the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift were authorized to work longer "to make sure students are safe on the way to school," Dorsey said.
Extra school police officers were brought in to bolster some schools. (Coincidentally, 34 new officers graduated Thursday from school-police training.)
"We're taking this seriously from elementary school to high school," said Dorsey, who is in her first year in the position. "We want to prevent anything like that from happening in Philadelphia schools."
The district is looking into upgrading technology software that can monitor social-media websites, which Dorsey considers "very, very important" factors in an enhanced district-safety policy.
Principals and staff are reviewing safety plans and holding safety-team meetings.
"We want to make sure we follow safety plans, making sure visitors identify themselves, validate their businesses," the chief inspector said. Each school needs to go through mandatory drills that need to instill in students, teachers, staff and police how to prevent loss of life, Dorsey said.
At George Washington Carver, Tysheara Hill's social-studies class discussed the horrific Connecticut shootings, and the discussion moved to the Second Amendment.
Hill still believes in the Second Amendment, although some classmates think stricter gun laws are desperately needed, Hill said.