Friday’s deadly school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school prompted an increased police presence at many Akron-area schools.
As Friday’s events unfolded, many area districts and law enforcement officials quickly collaborated to ensure safety and ease concerns as schools were dismissed at the end of the day.
“It’s not normal, it’s because of the Connecticut situation,” Norton Superintendent David Dunn said of the added police officer at each of his district’s schools.
Dunn said heightened “school security has always been and continues to be a major piece of what we need to do.”
Akron Superintendent David James said he learned of the tragedy in a text message.
“Our hearts go out to the families,” James said.
Staff and personnel are trained to respond quickly to any form of violence, James said, but even these measures cannot prevent violence.
“The news that we see on a daily basis indicates that there is not a fool-proof measure to prevent violence,” James said.
Safety is “always” a concern, James said.
“Where are any of us safe? Whether it’s in a school or at a shopping mall,” James said. “That’s a big question. Where are we really safe anymore?”
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School spurred some administrators to reassess school safety.
“Your first thought is: Could it happen here?” said Russell Chaboudy, superintendent of Coventry Local Schools.
The bedroom community where the shooting took place is much like many of the districts in Northeast Ohio, Chaboudy said, and makes you “realize it can happen anywhere.”
“It’s a horrific thought,” he said. “It devastates you when you hear this.”
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office alerted school districts of the events unfolding in Connecticut and informed school officials of the department’s planned response.
The sheriff pulled deputies from the Summit County Jail to ensure a police presence at schools throughout the county.
“We want to put everyone’s mind at ease,” said Inspector William Holland of the sheriff’s office.
Holland said the department routinely works with school districts so that law enforcement can become acclimated with buildings and teachers. One such meeting will be on Tuesday with Norton school officials.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330 996-3792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.