Schools increase security after shootingPosted: Updated:
As students in Newtown went back to school Tuesday, what happened there on Friday has changed the landscape of public schools throughout the state. This week, at least one officer is stationed at many schools, and some parents say that measure should be permanent.
Many parents saw officers when they went to either drop off or pick up their kids from school Monday and Tuesday. They are expected to be there right up until the winter break at many schools throughout the state, but many are asking what will things be like when their children come back after the new year.
Some towns say what happened in Newtown has them considering changing their policies forever.
"It's a very soft target. Even with a controlled access point, someone who wants to go into that school and do harm can do harm," said South Windsor police Deputy Chief Richard Riggs.
Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother as she slept in her bed and then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning, where he proceeded to shoot and kill 20 children, between the ages of 6 and 7, and six adults before shooting himself in the head.
And that's why Connecticut schools are re-examining it's security measures. In 2005, South Windsor tailored a plan for each specific school.
Riggs said while those plans have been implemented and are working just fine, the Newtown tragedy made them take it to the next level.
"Police officers that are assigned to a particular precinct visit their schools," he said.
Riggs said throughout the state, police presence in schools are at the highest ever with at least one officer on school grounds during school hours.
However, that extra layer of security comes at a cost of resources.
"That would definitely tax our officers and I would imagine that would be the case throughout the state," Riggs said.
If schools decide to hire off duty officers that's going to be an expensive bill, according to Riggs. So many towns such as South Windsor are in the planning phase.
On Monday night, South Windsor police Chief Matthew Reed brainstormed with the town council, coming up with ideas such as installing bulletproof glass, fortressing schools with brick walls and hiring an armed security guard or resource officer.
"They should be armed," Riggs said. "A security officer who is not properly armed is not security."
With tensions high, parents that talked to Eyewitness News said security should be the highest priority.
"There's gotta be protection for the kids," said parent Bonnie Wurmest. "What's more important than that?"
"You hate to say the word isolated, but I'm hoping that's the case," said parent Larry Lyman. "That's there's a lot more good in people than evil."
The officers being seen at area schools this week could be gone in a matter of days, just because it'll be taxing on the police departments.
And while various changes are expected at each district, it'll be up to the administrations to decide what those changes will be, while our lawmakers debate what can be done definitively on a state level.
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