Schools on ‘heightened awareness’ after Connecticut shooting

Published 2:58 pm Friday, December 14, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Shelby County Schools are operating with a “heightened sense of awareness,” and school officials are available to counsel students and parents in the wake of a fatal Dec. 14 shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

“Any time we have something like this happen nationally, it’s a reminder for us to be diligent in following our own safety plan,” said Shelby County Schools spokeswoman Cindy Warner. “It’s something we follow day-in and day-out.”

Warner’s comments came after law enforcement officials said a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and opened fire. According to national media reports, 27 victims, including the gunman and several elementary school students, died in the incident.

Alabaster officials said they are providing “an enhanced police presence at each school within the city” in the wake of the Connecticut incident.

In a press release, Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon called the Connecticut shooting an “unspeakable tragedy.”

“We will continue to work with the local administrators, in a support role, within the response plans in place from the Shelby County Board of Education,” Handlon wrote. “I want to reiterate to never hesitate to call 911 or 663-7401 to reach Alabaster police to report suspicious activities or concerns.

“I hope you will join me in praying for comfort and understanding for those who have had experienced loss of life today,” Handlon added.

Pelham Police Department Capt. Larry Palmer, said two Pelham officers are assigned to the city’s schools, and said the department will increase patrols around the schools over the next several class days.

“My hearts and prayers go out to those affected by this,” Palmer said.