Carroll County school officials said Friday there is increased police presence at some schools and officials are watching the news carefully out of Connecticut as they try to comprehend the magnitude of the tragedy there.
A gunman allegedly killed 27 people, including 18 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, according to Newtown Patch. The gunman was reportedly found dead inside the school.
“I just got reports that Manchester police are just patrolling around the schools at dismissal time – just showing a presence that people are safe. People might see an increased police presence,” said Steven Johnson, assistant superintendent of instruction at Carroll County public schools
The increase in police presence at local schools is being coordinated by individual law enforcement agencies, not the district, Johnson said.
Carroll County officials said they had received a few phone calls from parents Friday asking about safety precautions. Officials said they were not aware of anyone picking up their kids early from school, as of 3 p.m. Friday.
Johnson said the district is not doing anything significantly differently, safety-wise, in response to the Newtown school shooting.
“It seems like an isolated shooting,” he said, adding that the schools are continuing to abide by their safety plans, which are updated annually.
“We practice two lockdowns a school year for instances like this, or instances like intruders in the building,” he said. “Our schools have up to date safety plans. ... You hope this never ever happens, but you know we’re as prepared as we could.”
In Baltimore County, officials said Friday that Baltimore County Police were increasing patrols at local public schools without resource officers after the Friday morning shooting at the Connecticut elementary school.
Anne Arundel County police also boosted security at all public schools Friday afternoon prior to dismissal, according to Anne Arundel Patch.
Johnson said Carroll County schools have, in the past, made changes to security procedures following school shootings elsewhere.
After Columbine, the district issued identification cards for every school employee, and required visitor sign-in and badges.
As for measures beyond that, such as metal detectors?
There are no discussions for metal detectors in Carroll County schools, Johnson said.
“We try to walk a balance. We want schools to be welcoming places,” he said. “We want parents to be engaged in our schools and volunteer at schools. We can do as much as we can, but we can never, ever guarantee -- if someone wants to do harm, they will do harm.”
“Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee 100 percent everybody’s protection,” he added.
See related coverage:
- Anne Arundel Police Heighten School Security After Connecticut Shooting
- County Police Patrolling Schools Without Resource Officers After Connecticut Shooting
- Patch Exclusive: 'It Wasn't Me' Man Named as Shooter Writes