CHESHIRE – School leaders say the need to further restrict access to school buildings was a common concern among parents who attended a safety meeting with education and town officials last week.
Any security improvements to entrances will likely be partially funded by the state, according to Vincent Masciana, school chief operating officer.
About 80 parents attended the March 8 meeting with school, police, fire, town council and social services representatives. The evening began with an overview of school safety measures undertaken in recent years.
“(Residents) who spoke often referenced a desire to further restrict access to our buildings as a top priority,” said School Superintendent Jeff Solan.“We are reviewing this feedback along with that provided through the online survey we offered.”
While school safety has been a focus across the country following the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, Masciana said the district has always made security a top priority.
“We take school security and safety very seriously and we always have,” he said.
Last year the school system hired D’Agostino & Associates of Stamford, a security design firm, to do a review of school buildings. The firm gave school officials a list of building improvements and procedural changes, Masciana said. Officials are reluctant to talk specifically about measures to prevent intrusions.
The state has provided the town with more than $400,000 in funding for security improvements. Suggestions from the public will help shape the district’s priority list, Masciana said.
Masciana said each school holds an emergency drill each month in the presence of police and fire officials. Emergency workers evaluate the drill and their suggestions have led to improvements, such as an increase in the number and quality of two-way radios available to school workers.