WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The superintendent of Waterbury Public Schools and the city’s police chief held a meeting Monday night, to address recent weapon scares and school lockdowns over the past few weeks.
There were dozens of frustrated parents at the meeting who wanted to know how the district is planning to keep their children safe.
“My daughter doesn’t even want to go to high school. She is very, very upset. There’s constant fighting between the students, it’s making our kids fearful,” one parent said.
Three weapons scares in the past three weeks have caused alarm in the community.
In one case, a student was arrested for allegedly bringing a gun to school to Crosby High School. Last Thursday, Crosby and Wallace middle school next door were forced to shelter in place after a gun scare.
Parents were concerned they weren’t getting enough updates from the school during these scary situations.
Waterbury Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin said the district is focused on getting accurate information out quickly and that trusting misinformation on social media caused panic.
“We did have people enter the school building and further scare the staff and students because they knocked on doors and they yelled and they created an environment that was unsafe while police and staff were trying to contain it,” she said.
Two parents were arrested and charged with trespassing.
Waterbury’s police chief, Fernando Spagnolo said the department has several responses to school threats.
Waterbury parents want more communication from schools during lockdowns
“Sometimes it calls for a stronger patrol, we were closely with the security department within the school district,” he said. “Sometimes we use intelligence and technology to bolster things. Often times it’s more personal on the grounds for more specific period of time.”
Ruffin also said part of the solution is helping the students that keep getting into trouble.
“When we see repeated misbehaviors and when we see patterns, one of the best things we can do is pour some kind of therapeutic assistance for students that are the most disobedient in the schools and as early as possible,” she said.
She said they are working on a therapy program for students who are suspended from school.
But some parents said that’s not enough. Some want to see metal detectors or more police at schools.
“Parents want measurable, tangible results, that we can actually see and touch,” said Roxanne Bush, a parent of two students in the district. “I pay a lot of taxes in the city. Let me see where my tax dollars are going.”
The superintendent also encouraged more parents to get involved with the district.