22 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by annmaries_hair_on_madison
Patch Instagram photo by annmaries_hair_on_madison

Newtown Shooting Spurs Changes at Stratford Schools

A new emergency notification system and the establishment of a 'School Safety Committee' are among the added security measures outlined in a letter sent out by the superintendent last week.

Newtown Shooting Spurs Changes at Stratford Schools

 

A week after the mass school shooting in Newtown sent shockwaves throughout Connecticut and beyond, Stratford Superintendent of Schools Irene Cornish reported to parents on added security measures in the district.

She did it in a letter (attached as a PDF in the gallery right).

Among the bullet points was the purchase of a new emergency notification system that will provide both email and phone alerts in the event of an emergency. Cornish said the system should be in place this week.

Another added measure mentioned by the superintendent was the establishment of a "School Safety Committee," to be created by each school's principal. The new committee will be charged with helping "oversee the crisis procedure drills and advise the principal on additional school safety measures," Cornish wrote in the letter. "Those with expertise in security measures are encouraged to volunteer."

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"Since the tragic events in Newtown, we have been working with Mayor [Harkins] and Chief of Police [Patrick Ridenhour] to increase police presence in and around the school," Cornish wrote.

Before the letter was sent out to parents, the superintendent told Patch that the only full-time police presence is at the two middle schools and the two high schools. At the district's remaining schools, security in the form of a police presence is being provided by different officers at different times.

Concerned parents said this system leaves some schools unprotected for prolonged periods of time. They called for an officer at every school at all times. But Cornish said the resources are not there to make that happen. There simply are not enough officers to post one at every school without ignoring other police duties.

In the letter, Cornish said the police department is working with all of the district's principals to "recommend additional security measures tailored to the needs of that particular school."

One parent, interviewed before the letter went out, told Patch: "I do not feel my children are safe. If the town has police officers at the middle schools and high schools then they should be at the elementary schools where the children are so vulnerable."

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