Local schools respond to Conn. school shooting

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by Kristine Harrington

Bio | Email | Follow: @kharrington3tv

azfamily.com

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 17 at 7:00 PM

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. has put law enforcement here in Arizona on alert. 

While there has been no legitimate threat against any school here, law enforcement is increasing security and reaching out to parents and students in an effort to reassure them school is safe.

"At least make them feel safe especially after the event you know Friday," said Wayne Newman while choking back tears.

This father and Peoria police officer is having a tough time, like many of us, thinking about that tragic school shooting on Friday.

"A lot of questions, I have and everyone has a lot of questions. I want to know why," said Officer Newman.

While we may never know why Officer Newman has no problem reassuring students and parents that school is safe.

"We train for active shooters. We're trained to go take out the threats," said Newman. "We are prepared for this. Parents should not worry schools are safe," said Newman.

Every Peoria school had an officer on campus on Monday.

"We take the safety of our students incredibly serious. They are our number-one priority," said Danielle Airey with the Peoria Unified School District, which she said is proud of its emergency preparedness plan.

"This handbook outlines every event that could happen, certainly we hope we don't have to use it but we are prepared."

Without giving away all of the precautions in place, 3TV is told teachers know what to do in the case of a lockdown.

"They make sure their door is locked and the window is covered so no one can see in," said Airey.

They also have phones in all the classrooms and a "go bag" with snacks, water, first aid supplies and a flashlight, just in case.

School officials hope to learn from the tragedy that took place at the elementary school in Connecticut.

"Is there something else we can do to better protect our students, that's our number one priority, we want to do anything in our power to protect them," said Airey.

The Higley School District sent a note home to parents to let them know they are reviewing their systems and will be holding a public forum later this month to address security concerns and improvements.

It's an issue that weighs heavily on all the hearts and minds of parents today.

"You always have that in the back of your head but can't live being scared," said Melissa Clayburn, the mother of a first grader.

Unfortunately, many parents believe tragedies like this can't be prevented.

"I'm not sure what they can do," said father Johnny Cash. "This is a situation that unfortunately will probably happen again, it's just something we all have to live with."

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