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School safety once again a hot topic in Connecticut

Connecticut parents and law enforcement on edge after Texas elementary school shooting

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — The talk of school safety crops up every time there is a mass shooting. And law enforcement in Connecticut said there are two basic security measures schools can take to help keep their buildings safe.

Dismissal today at schools across the state was certainly different and not only because police were present. 

RELATED: 'What are we doing?': Connecticut's leaders call for action after deadly shooting tragedy at Texas elementary school

One Middletown parent noted some in Texas won't ever have the chance to pick up.

Despite K9 Bear being on hand at the MacDonough School here to offer comfort, the latest mass school shooting has nerves frayed.

"These things are just beyond comprehension," said John Potter, while waiting for his grandsons to be dismissed. "Let's be honest."

"It's still just very alarming and I'm still just nervous about it all," said Thea Mayorga, a Middletown parent.

"I think it's disgusting," said Kristina Nemecek, another MacDonough School parent.

She has a daughter in elementary school and a son in middle school.

"This morning holding onto them, not wanting them to go, kissing them," Nemecek said.

Many believe these shootings are largely preventable if elected officials would simply act.

"There should be more help for people who have some mental difficulties, places to go and get some help," said Potter, while he awaited his grandsons. 

One mom was watching coverage of the shooting last night when her fourth-grade son came downstairs.

"And I just asked him like 'what would you do in that sense if something like that would happen,'" Mayorga said.

If funding is available, many police chiefs statewide saif they would welcome all schools being equipped with School Resource Officers (SROs)

"Face-to-face interactions and relationships is what's going to change the culture and how we protect ourselves and how our community releases its own people," said Middletown Police Chief Erik Costa

Today, those picking up kids at MacDonough were thankful, including this Grandpa

"Even if they (grandkids) don't say much, they understand what happened and that extra little hug you get from them that will mean a lot both ways," Potter said.

Police presence at schools will vary moving forward.

"We're ensuring that we have multiple patrol checks throughout the day at our schools to provide support, encouragement and to let them know that we are there and that we care," said Chief Costa.

North Haven Police used social media today in part to make sure the public knows they have School Resource Officers in every school. With officers in schools, the proof is in the pudding.

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"I can recall weapons were seized, where fights were disrupted or stopped before they began, narcotics were seized," said Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo.

"One of my assignments at the Hamden Police Department was to do building assessments, school assessments," said retired Hamden cop Steve Rossacci, the owner of Triton Athletics, in Wallingford, who said making schools safer doesn’t have to be such a heavy lift.

"Just make sure the buildings are secure and by secure I mean all of the exterior doors are locked and there’s only one entry point into the building," Rossacci said

RELATED: Newtown neighbors say Texas shooting hits close to home

That limits access. Another basic, he said, is awareness.

"Social media's a big thing," he added. "If things were happening and were seen on social media today make sure that you make people aware of that.

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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