CHESHIRE — Education officials are considering how to spend a state school security grant of nearly $500,000.
It is one of several school security grants Cheshire has received since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. The money has been used to install cameras and video communication devices at school entrances, as well as a kiosk behind the main doors of Cheshire High School to monitor visitors.
Cathy Hellreich, school board chairwoman, said there is a list of possible purchases, but priorities may change based on public input. The school district is planning a public forum on safety and mental health.
“We’ll see what comes out of this forum,” Hellreich said. “We’d really like to hear from the public as to what their concerns are.”
She also didn’t want to discuss some possible measures because she doesn’t want the school’s safety efforts publicized.
Hellreich said security is always on the minds of school officials, but they particularly wanted residents to weigh in following the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
“We did make significant improvement after Sandy Hook and we’ve continued throughout the years,” she said.
The Florida shooting underscores the need to meet student’s mental health needs. Hellreich said the district has worked to increase student access to guidance counselors and others who can provide support.
“It makes you even more cognizant of the needs that some of our students have,” she said.
State Rep. Liz Linehan, a Democrat representing Cheshire, Wallingford and Southington, said Wallingford also received $18,000 from the same grant.
“These grants will help Cheshire and Wallingford make school security improvements that keep kids safe while maintaining a welcoming learning environment,” Linehan wrote in a press release.