Schools increase security after Connecticut shooting
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
The Shelby County School System has increased security measures at all local schools in the wake of a fatal Dec. 14 shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
The increased security 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 people, including the gunman, 20 elementary school students and six adults, died in the incident.
Shelby County School System officials met with Sheriff Chris Curry on Dec. 14 to put together a plan to provide police presence in and around all schools in the district, according to a Shelby County Schools press release.
Curry has requested the assistance of local cities’ law enforcement.
“While this is an effort to provide increased safety, it will be done as to not interrupt students and teachers within a normal learning environment,” the press release stated.
Officials in area schools are available to counsel students and parents.
Superintendent Randy Fuller has asked officials at area schools to review their safety plans and procedures and operate with “heightened awareness.” School officials were also asked to address any issues related to monitoring school entrances, according to the press release.
“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 in a phone interview. “It’s something we follow day-in and day-out.”
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.
Amy Jones contributed to this report.