HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Students at Hamden High School will be returning to class today after a weekend of protesting recent acts of violence at the school.
Hamden Police, school leaders, students, and parents came together on Sunday to improve safety in schools. They marched from Hamden High School to the town hall to bring awareness to security concerns after several recent scares in the district.
“It’s a rally for our teachers, for our children, and for the community to be aware of the struggles that we’re facing in our public schools,” Karlen Meinsen, a parent attending the march, told WTNH.
This past week, the high school welcomed students back after closing for several days due to recent threats and violence, including the stabbing of a ninth-grader just outside the school, and an incident involving a student who brought a loaded gun to school.
These scares caused an outcry from students and parents and led the Board of Education to order metal detectors, add a second resource officer to the high school, and look into other safety measures.
Students returning to class last Wednesday were greeted by metal detector wands. The superintendent told News 8 on Sunday, the walk-through permanent metal detectors have been shipped and should arrive for installation at the school in two to five days.
Superintendent Jody Goeler explained, “It isn’t because we think that they’re 100 percent effective or that they’re the right tools to use for schools. We were being told by parents and by students that they would not be coming to school on Wednesday if there weren’t things like metal detectors or wands available.”
Goeler added they’ll be adding four metal detectors to the high school: two for each of their entrances.
“This isn’t going to happen with one march, with one speech, in one week,” Goeler said. “This is going to be something we need to sustain for a long time.”
Hamden Police Department Chief John Sullivan explained that the department is still looking into other technological safety measures, noting “there’s a lot of work that’s going into this.” He wants to ensure the public that his department, the Hamden Board of Education, and the Mayor’s office are working together.
Seeing the superintendent march with the community sends a positive message, Meinsen said. She wants to make sure these efforts continue in the long-term with increased mental health resources for students.
“Now we have to detect our students’ and childrens’ emotional security and get to the bottom of that,” Meinsen said.