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Stratford Parent: 'We Need an Immediate Response to Ensure the Safety of Our Kids'

Mother of two elementary students Traci Totten is unhappy with school security measures in the wake of the Newtown school shooting that killed 20 children and six adults on Friday.

The following is in part a response to a public forum held this morning by Supt. Irene Cornish to address school safety.

By Traci Totten

I was actually disheartened by the actions and responses taken by officials.

My kids are back in school today as I know I cannot keep them home all week without instilling my fears into them. But I walked them into school today and could have easily bypassed the office and went straight to either classroom.

Yes, they know me, but I am hearing from co-workers and friends in surrounding towns, the elementary schools there are sending out updates, letting parents know the police are on-site at the schools, canceling outdoor recess.

We know nothing in Stratford. I have no idea about recess being canceled. There are no police at any elementary school today -- high schools and middle schools, yes, so why not elementary? This happened in Smalltown USA at a random elementary school! I get that the cost must be factored in but for one week before they are on Christmas break, they cannot have at least one cop at each school? I know that things could happen with cops there.

I get that they are placing things in such a way that a larger plan is in place. However, we need an immediate response to ensure the safety of our kids.

I work at an Aerospace and Defense company. I am located in an office building in Trumbull. You need a badge to enter the building, or you need to call the office you are going to visit to be buzzed in. There are cameras at each entrance. In my office, specifically, you cannot come in the back part. There is protocol in place to protect the information we house here.

Our kids are so much precious then the items we at workplaces protect yet the measures there seem to be more effective and proactive.  I feel that the district is waiting to be responsive at this point, and not proactive.

One woman at the meeting asked, "What's it going to take" to get cops at every school NOW. The answers were so vague -- I left feeling like nothing was accomplished. This doesn't seem to be priority. I respect that it takes an effort to get officials together. I respect that they need a concrete response to be confident in what they tell us they are doing is actually happening.

Bottom line is: police need to be at our elementary schools this week, all week. No one is going to complain. The kids will not be afraid -- the ones old enough to know what is happening will be comforted. The ones too young look at police as protectors; so there is no harm or fear instilling to worry about.

I am confident I speak for many in saying the meeting this morning was not effective and tomorrow I will not feel any safer sending my kids in then I did today.

Ron Moreau December 19, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Robert,"...this isn't even an entertainable option." I believe it is an entertainable option. I don't think our elected leaders considered a scenario like the one that developed in Newtown. Perhaps the legislature should revisit that decision. A responsible adult with a gun permit could be the first line of defense. Every second counts when forced to deal with this type of situation.
Matt December 20, 2012 at 12:59 AM
As a parent, educator, former resident and former teacher in Newtown I can very clearly understand and empathsize with the wide range of feelings and varied responses of the commenters to this article and thousands of others related to this horrific event. However, it doesn't help anyone, especially our children to be beating up our school and municpal leaders because someone's thoughts and ideas are not acted upon immediately. Everyone from parents to teachers and administrators, to community leaders, police and citizens without children in schools are on heightened alert and will no doubt be watching for anything that looks out of the ordinary for a,long time to come. Continue to communicate your beliefs and suggestions in a respectful manner, but attacking those in charge serves no purpose and will distract those who need to make decisions and changes from making prudent decisions and effective change.
Traci December 20, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I don't think there's any attacking going on . I know for a fact measures being taken in the towns next to ours immediately ( Monday ) after this are not long term fixes by any means . Seeing and hearing the town officials first hand really concerned me . There was a cop at school today for some time which I am happy to report - I understand every parent , educator and resident has thier own opinion but when your child is the same age as the ones killed a few towns over you need answers and frankly dont have time politics and generic responses . Trumbull shelton Milford - all great examples .
Matt December 20, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Very well stated.
Tom December 20, 2012 at 10:27 PM
The answer to this problem may involve some less-than-PC asnwers. I believe it is time that we review IDEA legislation and exactly what it requires of our schools, our teachers, and our students.

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