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Carroll County Schools See Increased Police Presence in Response to Connecticut Shooting

‘You hope this never, ever happens.’ – Steven Johnson, assistant superintendent of instruction.

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
Chris E December 14, 2012 at 09:32 PM
While I like having police around schools I feel this is a knee jerk reaction. Why don't we focus on what can be done to make schools a safer place all the time not just when a horrific incident has occurred. Starting with keeping the doors locked at the schools and making sure there is always someone who can see who is walking in the front door would be a good start.. I can not tell you how many times I have walked into my son's school to find no staff in the front office at all for an extended period of time. Anyone could walk in and nobody would know until it is to late..
Paula Dearing December 14, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I can't help thinking that with all of the senior citizens we have, and I'm one of them, I think many of them would consider sitting at the door to observe anyone coming in during the day. As a matter of fact, aside from being just "people power", it would give a lot of seniors a sense of purpose that perhaps they may lack from time to time. Just a thought!
Buck Harmon December 14, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Just a Police State exercise...a drill..
L.A.P. December 15, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Really? This was an isolated event in another state. Could something like this happen here? Unfortunately, yes. The peripheral patrolling of our local schools is no more than "show" and, as others have said, a knee-jerk reaction.
Ed December 15, 2012 at 05:28 AM
The news reports I saw earlier in the day said the school involved had just that kind of system in place. It would be nice if we could wait to find out what kind of demons afflicted the shooter and use THAT as a jumping off point for a REASONED, RATIONAL, NON-POLITICAL discussion about mental heath issues, school security practices and access to guns instead of knee-jerk reactions to all of those issues.
Kathy December 15, 2012 at 01:45 PM
There will be police presence for a few days, but we can't station police at every school indefinitely. This is just am attempt to make parents feel better, but in my case it is not working.
Buck Harmon December 15, 2012 at 01:52 PM
What can parents do to help the situation..?? Are there opportunities for parents to have a say?
50 Bales of Hay December 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
If someone wants in, they'll come in. Doors, cameras, senior citizen monitors, staff...nothing will stop an heavily armed intruder with intent other than an armed responder.
Darrin December 15, 2012 at 02:31 PM
+1 Ed
Sue Keller December 15, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Why do some people persist in the notion that we must live as we lived in the 1950s? Clearly, it isn't the 1950s anymore. We need meaningful, daily, consistent security measures in our schools. We lock our doors to our homes, we lock our car doors, we need to lock our schools. We may not be able to forestall all dangerous people bent on getting into schools to do harm but we have a responsibility to our children to increase security beyond where it is now. At my son's school, anyone can just walk in. There was no security to speak of at an evening dance last year. Once the dance got under way, anyone could come in or go out the main doors without being stopped. Now, we're supposed to reassure our kids that everything's OK. But we've seen this before. A copycat shooter will surface in the next few weeks or months. But nothing will have changed and we'll be crying over someone else's body. Everything isn't OK. But the powers that be will claim nothing more can be done. And the folks who want to pretend it's still the 1950s will clamor that we can't live in fear and the best thing we can do is resume our lives as if nothing had happened. That's not good enough anymore. Pry some money out of the budget; administrators salaries are ripe for cutting. And now that the biometric scanner lunch pass program is kaput, that should free up some money.
Stinkbug December 15, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Why not move the palm scanner to the front door instead? If it is already in schools it would just be a simple adjustment of software to have it unlock doors. Those who help in the schools as volunteers can get their hand scanned. Surely parents will give up "supposed " privacy issues in order to help children learn in a safe environment. I would not put a person out front...unless you want to be the first one shot.
josh December 15, 2012 at 11:42 PM
So say we did put palm scanners in, how is that gonna stop a student from taking their parents gun and doing the same thing? Sure we could then add metal detectors, but then to get all 1000 or so students into the school would be like a TSA check at the airport. Not to mention palm scanners are a violation of privacy, nobody needs to be taking my childs fingerprints unless they've done something to warrant it. Gun control/safety starts in the home, and by making sure children don't have access to them in the first place. The shooter took his mothers gun, he shouldn't have had access to the weapon.
Stinkbug December 16, 2012 at 02:55 AM
If the palm scanners weren't going to slow down the lunch line...that is why they were installed remember? Why would it slow it down before school? Point 2...they open doors only for student and then lock then again when students have arrived like they do in preschool. A student only needs palm scan if late. I have worked for government contractors for many years...would you quit your job if they installed palm scanners? If have worked where tbey are used. There is an incredible amount of ignorance how these palm scanners work and if you are fearful of them please ask someone who codes them so they can explain. Its actually very interesting if you would like to learn something new. And it has never cause a back up or slowed down entry at any job where I have used them. But then again your right nothing would stop someone determined...not even locking il guns. Because then they would go for knives and bombs. How many kids have been killed in China recently from knives? If the doors were locked or put on lockdown and you could only get in threw palm scanning then it would a little difficult to let and 20 year old non student non faculty in the school if records are deleted every year.
Stinkbug December 16, 2012 at 02:59 AM
And I have to correct you...palm scanning doesn't use fingerprints or hand prints. Please look it up..it is easy to find and quite cool what it does scan.

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