Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus said Monday morning that parents have thanked officers assigned to patrol local schools, in the wake of Friday's deadly attack at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT.
According to Newtown Patch, at around 9:30 a.m. Friday, lone gunman Adam Lanza, 20, forced his way into Sandy Hook and killed 20 children and six adults, then killed himself. Funerals for the first two victims were held Monday.
"There was probably no parent who dropped off their children at school and felt the same as they did before this incident," Nebus said. "A lot of parents have come up to (the officers) and said they appreciated their presence."
Nebus said the additional attention to schools will continue, as much as regular call volumes allow, through the week.
"I hope that people in our community know we care, and we are working to make sure something unthinkable doesn't happen here," he said.
Schools review safety protocols
Inside schools, administrators and staff reviewed safety protocols and crisis plans, but did not discuss the Connecticut incident with students, according to list serv emails sent out Monday morning. Students who raised questions were encouraged to talk to their parents.
A note from Power Upper Elementary Principal James Anderson explained a change in one school policy:
"... I am going to restrict the access of parents within the building without checking in first. As a middle school, we had a strict policy about parents in the halls before or after school. As we transitioned to an upper elementary, we received feedback that our school felt unwelcoming. Therefore we did not press issues of parents walking kids to their lockers before school or directly after school. This needs to change to allow for my staff to monitor the school more easily. Parents will not be allowed to walk their students past the lobby area without first checking into the office in the morning. Even then, we will ask parents to say goodbye to their students before entering the school unless there is a specific need to accompany them further."
While he noted the move "may be unpopular with some", Anderson wrote, "Safety is not negotiable, and certain practices greatly improve our likelihood for safety."
At Harrison High, students observed a moment of silence for the Sandy Hook victims, according to a list serv email.
"Afterwards, students were reassured we have a crisis plan in place and that part of that plan includes all the drills that we do. We also communicated there were counselors on hand to help any student who was having a difficult time. In the next few days and months, we will continue to be vigilant. As usual, visitors will be asked to sign in and there will be extra police patrols around our school. We have also asked students if they see someone without a visitors badge or ID badge to inform an adult as quickly as possible."