Increased Security In Schools After Newtown Shooting

By: Sandra Osborne Email
By: Sandra Osborne Email

By design, it was business as usual Monday for students at Hiland Park Elementary.

"We need to continue in those routines to reassure children that we are here for them," said Principal Patti Fowler.

It wasn't business as usual for local law enforcement agencies, who will be providing extra officers to Bay County schools at least through Friday.

"We say that these things can't happen here, but it's shown in the past that it can happen here just as easily as it can happen anywhere else," said Major Tommy Ford of the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

"It definitely helps to know that they're taking a stand and doing something," said Ashley Rich, a mother of three.

Teachers and staff were also glad to see a law enforcement presence.

"Having the officers has been awesome and we would like to see that continue," said Fowler.

Fowler says teachers routinely practice lock-down situations and have permission to keep classroom doors locked.

While sheriff's deputies have trained for armed intruder situations, they say they hope they never have to use that training.

"It's an incident that we all need to pay particular attention to and learn from and do everything in our power to prevent from happening here," said Ford.

Their training including actual experiences in an empty Bay County school last summer.

School officials say they're looking for potential weaknesses in security.

"We need to be constantly vigilant. As the principal, it is my responsibility to make sure the students are safe," said Fowler.

Sheriff's officials also expressed concern about fewer school resource deputies.


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