Weston Area Schools Are Reviewing Security Procedures

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Flag at half mast in front of Weston Intermediate School honors Newtown victims.
Flag at half mast in front of Weston Intermediate School honors Newtown victims. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind

WESTON, Conn. – Increasing police presence at local schools is one way school districts in Weston, Easton and Redding have upgraded security since the shootings in Newtown, but other measures will be taken.

Redding First Selectman Natalie Ketcham said the Region 9 Board of Education will conduct a security audit to determine what needs to be done.

Weston Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer said the school system will look at “security awareness technology that might inform us of intruders or delay intruders from entering.”

Region 9 Schools Superintendent Bernard Josefsberg declined to discuss specific security measures the schools have instituted, but said, “The physical issues of security and emotional issues have absorbed our attention. We are very conscious of the emotional condition of students and staff. A lot of counseling and mutual aid has been provided.”

Increased police presence at the schools has been the main security measure taken so far with officers present at each school behind locked doors.

“We’re seeking a full-time officer assigned to School Road every day school is in session on a permanent not a temporary basis,” Palmer said.

Easton Police Chief James Candee said officers are on patrol at arrival and dismissal times at Helen Keller Middle School, Staples Elementary School and Easton Country Day.

“Officers are on patrol at the schools for extended periods of time,” he said.

“We’ve done quite a bit since last Friday,” Josefsberg said. “If you go to a building you see police presence. We’ve tightened things up. If you are not known and don’t have proper identity you will not get far in the building.”

Students and teachers in the school systems continue to grapple with the tragedy.

“Every single person in the school district with awareness level has been shaken by events,” Palmer said. “We thought  being a teacher is a safe profession, but these events were so horrific and everyone personalized the situation to themselves.”

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Partial solution: instead of hiring more Asst. Principals, fluff teachers and other bureaucrats, hire a full time, heavily armed, uniformed security officer or two for each school. Or have a police officer pulled from speed-trap duty and stationed at each school during all hours when school is in session.