Schools around U.S. in­crease se­cu­rity

Austin American-Statesman - - CONNECTICUT SCHOOL SHOOTING - By Chris­tine Ar­mario

MI­AMI — Schools around the coun­try are re­view­ing se­cu­rity plans, adding ex­tra law en­force­ment pa­trols and ready­ing coun­selors for the first day of classes since a shoot­ing mas­sacre at an ele­men­tary school in Con­necti­cut.

Dis­tricts from Alabama to Ari­zona and Florida to New Eng­land were ask­ing lo­cal law en­force­ment to in­crease pa­trols to­day. School of­fi­cials in some ar­eas sent mes­sages to par­ents ad­dress­ing se­cu­rity or stress­ing that they have safety plans that are reg­u­larly tested. While some of­fi­cials refuse to dis­cuss plans in de­tail, it was clear that vig­i­lance will be high this week at schools around the coun­try.

Ad­di­tional po­lice pa­trols are planned this week in north­ern Vir­ginia around the Fairfax County Pub­lic Schools, which is the largest school sys­tem in the Washington area with 181,000 stu- dents. Coun­selors will also be avail­able at all schools.

“This is not in re­sponse to any spe­cific threat but rather a po­lice ini­tia­tive to en­hance safety and se­cu­rity around the schools and to help al­le­vi­ate the un­der­stand­ably high lev­els of anx­i­ety,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Jack Dale said Sun­day.

Those sen­ti­ments were echoed to the south in Florida’s Hills­bor­ough County, where sher­iff’s of­fice spokesman Larry McKin­non said un­marked and marked cars will pa­trol the schools along with deputies in plain clothes. He wouldn’t say how many ex­tra of­fi­cers will be in­volved.

The ad­di­tional pa­trols will sup­ple­ment deputies al­ready as­signed to ev­ery high school and ju­nior high school in the area to ease the fears of par­ents “who may feel un­easy about send­ing their chil­dren to school.” The county’s pub­lic school sys­tem in the Tampa area in­cludes around 195,000 stu­dents.

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