NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH)-- School officials from around Connecticut got together Thursday night, to come up with ways to keep kids safer, as we head into the new school year.
"Their sense of safety had almost been destroyed after what happened at Sandy Hook. In fact, it had been destroyed by what happened at Sandy Hook," said a speaker.
Keeping schools safe is a top priority for Connecticut officials. On Thursday, there was a panel heard from education professionals, police officers and community members on ways to improve and enhance school security throughout the state.
"Our whole goal is to make the school more secure and keeping it open, as an open warm environment for students to attend. It's got to be conducive to learning in the long run," said Adam Byington, Fairfield School Resource Police Officer.
"We think there's a couple of things that need to be done and clearly one of them is to make sure that in an incident situation, both teachers and students will have a safe place to be that cannot be gotten into by anyone else," said Jeff Leake, Vice President of the Connecticut Education Association.
The goal is to get all districts to look at various aspects of school security infrastructure.
"Like set backs for parking lots from buildings, security cameras, entry ways, locking systems, ballistic glass, emergency communication systems, a back up power system, really a whole array of things," said Commissioner Donald DeFronzo .
Officials say they want schools safe but also a welcoming environment for students and families.
"It's essential that the guidelines that we create ensure that it is recognition this is a school that we are talking about. We are not building a fortress, we are building a school. We may fortify it, but there's a way to do that where it's not a fortress," said Stefan Pryor, Connecticut Commissioner of Education.
"Schools are vulnerable targets and I think parents drop their kids off in the morning, they are thinking that schools are the safest place a child can be other than with their parent or grandparent. And part of the work of this program is to make that a reality," said DeFronzo .
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