Middletown To Increase Police Presence, Security At Schools In Wake Of Newtown Tragedy

The Hartford Courant

Mayor Daniel Drew said in a news release Sunday that the city will increase police presence at schools in coming weeks, and will review safety procedures in the wake of Friday's school shooting in Newtown that left 20 children and six adults dead.

"Our top priority is to provide our students, their families, our staff and our community with a safe learning environment," Drew said.

Drew said he met with Superintendent Patricia Charles and Police Chief William McKenna this weekend to review safety protocols and procedures.

Security will be heightened in ways that will be obvious to students and parents, and in ways that will not be as visible, Drew said. He did not elaborate on future security measures in his statement.

"The tragedy suffered in Newtown puts into perspective the preciousness of our loved ones and that we must never take for granted their presence. We mourn for the children who were taken in the dawn of their lives, the families whose unimaginable grief can never be assuaged and the community whose heart will bear enduring scars," the statement said.

Charles said Monday that police would be present before and after school and at various times during the day for the forseeable future. Schools had staff meetings Monday morning to go over the new safety measures and to review standard security protocols.

"There was a heightened concern but [teachers were] looking forward to seeing their classes," Charles said of Monday's school opening. "Everyone was looking to get back and have a sense of normalcy."

She said staff and parents have been supportive and cooperative with the school district so far.

"Everyone is very cooperative and understanding that unfortunately we're changing as a result of what happened on Friday," Charles said. "We need to be ready in the event that something happens at any school in the country."

"We really appreciate the parents' and public's patience with us as we tighten our safety and security measures we have in place," she said.

The school district currently has two school resource officers at Middletown High School, but no officers permanently stationed in any other schools.

Courant Staff Writer Jim Welch contributed to this story.

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