(WTNH) – Following mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, Tulsa, and other communities across the United States, there is a renewed national conversation about school security and gun violence.

Ahead of next week’s hearing on Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal held a virtual roundtable.

Superintendents explained what more they need. Connecticut schools have beefed up security measures since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Maureen Brummett, the School Superintendent in Newington, says the administration is always on guard.

“We’re looking at kids with a critical eye all the time. We’re giving them help as best we can. But we cannot control if they have access to weapons,” Brummett said.

That access to weapons is a major issue as Congress looks to pass measures like red flag laws that separate guns from those struggling with mental illness. Getting more support for mental health is a constant concern.

Christine Carver, the Bethel School Superintendent, describes a heartbreaking situation with one of her students.

“I had a 4-year-old in the ER for five days! Could not get a bed and was returned to the home,” Carver said.

Meantime, the 2018 STOP VIOLENCE ACT provided $83 million in training and security grants. Some districts got Homeland Security money for upgrades.

Carver describes what elements were added during a recent renovation project.  

“New camera systems, lockdown buttons, ballistic vestibule, so that if an intruder came into the building, all of those hardening of entrances to delay access into our buildings, mag locks, all of those pieces were tremendous,” Carber said.

Kathleen Greider, the Farmington School Superintendent, says in her district, a good relationship with the local police has paid off.

“Our police stop by our schools every day whenever they can. There are mentors for our students. We have S.R. Rose and youth officers in our schools, and they are there for every lockdown, for everything we do,” Greider said.

Educators say they would like to be able to link school security cameras to the local police department. Some districts have the capability, but others cannot afford it.

Blumenthal says a bipartisan group of senators is making progress on a gun violence prevention bill, but “talks have been intense.” Republicans he adds, are coming to the table.