WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Schools across the United States are experiencing more lockdowns and shelter-in-place situations, and Waterbury Public Schools has seen a rise in weapons scares in recent weeks. 

The district has had at least three reported incidents, closing multiple schools in the last month, including Thursday, when Crosby High School was forced to shelter in place. Two parents were arrested for trespassing.

Parents in Waterbury said it is cause for concern, and they’re frustrated over what they claim is delayed communication from the district. 

“We don’t know about lockdowns or shelters in place until hours later until they have already been cleared,” said Kristy Iavarona, who has two children enrolled in the district.    

“I never got a notification yesterday until hours after,” said Cshila LaPorte Vega, who has two children currently enrolled.  

Dr. Verna Ruffin, Waterbury superintendent, said safety is a top priority. 

“That’s the primary focus,” Ruffin said. “We’re not going to send out anything while we’re trying to secure everything.”  

Ruffin said they work carefully with police to alert families with the latest and most accurate information quickly.  

She said Thursday’s incident was fueled by parents posting misinformation on social media.    

“Will [the district’s alerts] be delayed from what someone may be experiencing inside the school? It could be, but what we’re going to send will be accurate and not just an assumption,” Ruffin said.  

She urged families to look to the Parent Square portal for the most accurate information during situations like these. 

“I agree, but I also think that, in an emergency situation, there should at least be a notification going out that the school is in lockdown,” LaPorte Vega said.  

Parents said more must be done, even if that means metal detectors and stronger police presence.  

“I don’t think they have it under control because if they did, this wouldn’t be happening constantly,” Iavarona said.  

Ruffin said the district would discuss safety and security during a public meeting Monday, May 15, at Crosby High School at 6 p.m. 

The video below aired in our 8 p.m. newscast on May 14, 2023.