Stratford Mom: A Constant Police Presence is Needed at Every Elementary School

Petition supports constant police surveillance at Stratford elementary schools.

A Stratford mom has created a petition on change.org that calls on the Stratford Board of Education and Mayor John A. Harkins to institute a more constant police presence at the district's elementary schools.

Currently the only full-time police surveillance is at the two middle schools and two high schools.

"We have to focus on tightening our securities already in place," Superintendent Irene Cornish told Patch last month.

But Carol Monte, the petition's creator, calls an increase in securities "a necessary step."

"The tragic incident that took place in Sandy Hook is an unfortunate reminder that even our youngest children are not safe at school," the petition states. "Although this does not guarantee their safety, it is a necessary step in deterring and possibly preventing such a tragedy in the future."

Related Article: Newtown Shooting Spurs Changes at Stratford Schools

David January 11, 2013 at 03:56 AM
That article looks like it hit the AP 15 hours ago and is on hundreds of websites. Here's another longer article: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/newtown-schools-chief-urges-continued-police-guard-18178012 Not too many people discussing it yet. I've found a few discussions.
patrick ewing January 11, 2013 at 03:43 PM
SRO'S are the best thing we have done! They are there not only for safety but also to be a resource for the school community !
patrick ewing January 11, 2013 at 03:47 PM
SRO'S gain trust of the students, who in turn inform the Sro's of possible problems that may arise. They have great relationships with students and staff! Also they do different programs thru the school year and also summer programs for the town youth!The kids and parents love them ! Just sayin!
patrick ewing January 11, 2013 at 03:48 PM
When you see a SRO...THANK THEM!
Carol January 11, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Thank You Patrick! - Keep your good thoughts coming. I hope you signed the petition.
patrick ewing January 11, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Keep up the great work SRO's!! Thank God there was one at Wooster at the time of the incident!
David January 11, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Glad to hear the SRO's are doing a good job, I'd hope for nothing less. Could you imagine if people complained about the SRO's... that would be bad. Thankyou SRO's for doing a good job. But are the schools being too quick to involve the SRO's? How does that effect kids. Perhaps the statistics are wrong, maybe the rise is just the kids getting worse. The other statistic I was reading was that it was disproportionate by race. I'd still hope that people question the statistics.
David January 11, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Interesting... (a few hours ago) Obama administration pondering plan to put armed police officers in public schools Under proposal from Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer schools would have access to federal funds to pay for uniformed or plain clothed officers Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-armed-cops-schools-article-1.1238142#ixzz2HhUTK5bB http://www.city-data.com/forum/politics-other-controversies/1770657-obama-admin-pondering-idea-placing-armed.html
David January 12, 2013 at 04:39 PM
There are the Barbara Boxer followers and then there are groups against more police (quotes and link below). Just reading what is happening in high schools now a days sounds like SRO's are needed (drugs, sexting, sex, theft, threats, etc - not my high school), but let's make sure we look at it all before we jump to conclusions. "NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund warned of "unintended consequences," including student arrests and a changed school atmosphere, when the police presence is increased." "Our experience here in Miami-Dade County has been that the kid that needs the proper interventions can get them without going through the arrest process," he said. A teacher or principal can refer a student to get help for mental health, substance abuse, life skills training or other services without any police involvement." Group blasts proposals to send more police into schools http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-orange-school-police-security-mayors-20130111,0,5461178.story
Catmommie January 12, 2013 at 08:40 PM
I feel that a "buzz-in" security system similar to the one at Sandy Hook, accompanied by a double checkpoint entry with bullet-proof glass and cameras, would be a most sensible solution in the unfortunate economic time of our town and state.
Theresa January 12, 2013 at 09:18 PM
There is really no such thing as "bullet proof" glass. It is bullet resistant laminate composite. The materials are “bullet resistant,” in that each is rated in terms of the amount of firepower it can stop, that’s not the same as “bullet proof.” Even a Level 8 rated sheet of glass-clad polycarbonate–which can weather a shotgun blast, a burst from an AK-47, or round after round from a common 9mm pistol–will eventually succumb to a motivated attacker with sufficient ammunition. This would have been a useless defense for Sandy Hook. But using that kind of firepower would give ample time for someone to call 911...it's A LOT of noise. The schools in Stratford already have a buzz-in security system and CC cameras. By the way, bullet resistant glass is about $3-15 per square INCH.
alliesallie January 12, 2013 at 10:03 PM
I agree that of course the entry has to be secure, but in a building with 10 giant windows in every classroom that someone could shoot right through and get in, sadly I don't know what you do.
Chris Stevens January 14, 2013 at 03:12 AM
Walt, unfortunately any officers hired after 1995 don't have the pension your talking about, any officers hired after the last contract don't have a pension at all just a 401k, maybe you should do some research before making inaccurate statement, here's a thought, there's a lot more fireman around than officers, and they do a lot less.....there call volume is nothing compared to the cops, have 2-3 of them at every school genius......
cnitoiu January 18, 2013 at 03:48 PM
I thought you might want to see this article on "My View: More school resource officers, more safe school communities" http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/17/my-view-more-school-resource-officers-more-safe-school-communities/?hpt=hp_bn1. Maybe with more federal funds, they will think about putting an office in each elementary school.... although from the "safety meeting" held last week at the schools, I understand that "money" is not an issue. Then what is? Carol, have you attended the town hall meeting?
Baffled Resident January 19, 2013 at 04:45 PM
The petition has all of 109 signatures on it. The people of Stratford have spoken.
alliesallie January 19, 2013 at 05:33 PM
I'm sure you can get more than 109 signatures on this. Can you get it on facebook or something, I don't think too many people really follow patch, I just happen to look at this.
Carol January 20, 2013 at 03:11 AM
cnitoui - Thanks for the article. I did send you a friend request to talk to you. I would love your help with a few things that I have going on. As for you Baffled resident any and ALL of your comments will never receive a reply from me. I will not waste my time responding to you ever again after this. You honestly think the entire town of Stratford reads the patch? I had a good laugh at that one.
Carol January 20, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Thanks CM you are absolutely right.. Not that many people read the patch. I do have a written petition to attach to the online one as well. I will let you know as when the next town council meeting is.. I will be there and I hope to see you there as well.
cnitoiu January 20, 2013 at 04:51 AM
Carol, please feel free to email me at caminitoiu@yahoo.com
David January 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Good reading, but not too objective... "The opinions expressed are solely those of Kevin Quinn." - written by a Police Officer SRO. Not looking statistically or objectively at the community effect.
Patricia Clark Sperling January 24, 2013 at 02:19 PM
I have to agree that SROs may not be the way to go in schools. Knowing a great deal of parents and children in both middle and high school, and without naming a specific SRO or specific school, I have heard some very NEGATIVE comments. If we end up going with SROs in our elementary schools, they absolutely must have more kid-friendly personalities, not unfriendly, bossy and dictator-like as I have been told exists.
Walt January 24, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Can you imagine how boring that job would be sitting around all day with nothing to do?
David January 24, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Glad to hear you and walt are level headed on the SRO usage. I personally would never have a problem with an SRO, hope my kids wouldn't either. Though, I know police officers as friends and you need a much different character to have that job. They must have a slightly different mind set in a school, so the SRO position would need moderation. I do know that my friends whom are police officers do also know that a certain class of citizen may feel different than I about police and might actually have a more negative effect. So the use of SRO's needs some serious monitoring. Before being friends with a cop, I never thought they'd get in fights doing their job. Like who'd hit a police officer? That's crazy. But it's a regular part of their job. Sad but true. So the character with the job and the result it has on kids in a school needs to be watched. After hearing what's going on in the highschools in Stratford, we probably need SRO's. Again sad but true. Though, could they be on call and could we use a better resource there? Not for me to answer, just to plant the question to whom pushes an idea without really looking into the problems.
cnitoiu January 24, 2013 at 09:46 PM
This is a very long report, but it has some interesting data about the benefits of SROs: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/209271.pdf. It helps just to look over the data tables.
Theresa January 24, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Maybe with more federal funds? With Congress demanding drastic cuts to almost ALL discretionary spending? Education is on the hit list for the upcoming taffy pull: Prior to the fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress on December 31, 2012, the Congressional Budget Office estimated an 8.2 percent across-the-board spending cut in 2013 for the Department of Education.The scheduled sequester set to begin March 1, 2013 could be in the range of 6 percent rather than over 8 percent. While the impact is expected to now be slightly lower, an 8.2 percent cut in 2013 is equal to a $4.8 billion reduction in funding for the Department of Education. Such cuts in 2013-14 school year would result in: $1.1 billion cut from Title I $1 billion cut from IDEA special education $95 million cut from Impact Aid $192 million cut in Teacher Quality State Grants $94 million cut from 21st Century Community Learning Centers $15 million cut from rural education $653 million cut from Head Start
Theresa January 24, 2013 at 11:15 PM
I agree with picking the RIGHT SRO, kid-friendly and approachable. I have, as of yet, heard of no discussion with the Chief of Police about supplying 9 officers to the elementary schools, how the shift in duty would affect the current staff, and how cash-strapped Stratford plans on hiring new recruits to fill the positions vacated by officers now on patrol who are reassigned. Perhaps we can, as a town, raise money by selling the currently vacant properties -- Stratford Engine Plant and Shakespeare Theater -- to anyone that has a pulse and a pocketbook and stop looking (as a fussy debutante) for "Mr. Right" to purchase them. It's an embarrassment for the town to have the South End look like Chernobyl because our town management is more interested in cutting deals than getting income producing businesses into the area. We could avoid a mil rate increase, hire new officers with public relations credentials and not think twice about where the money is coming from.
Theresa January 24, 2013 at 11:18 PM
About as exciting as watching 5 AT&T workers excavate Main Street for 8 hours. That is mind-numbing.
David January 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM
That needs some careful reading; quick reads show a lot of problems. One chart showed while they drove down many bad aspects (disruptive behavior, fighting), they drove up Bullying. Sounds like you teach the kids ways to hide from the police and not get caught. So they fear being sent to the SRO, thus are not disruptive or fight (because they fear being caught). So they turn to covert bully, what else might they be doing bad? Great. "Overuse of SROs by Elementary Schools. Over time, as elementary school administrators saw how helpful the SROs could be, they began using them too much (see the box “Relations between the Elementary Schools and the SROs”). Indeed, some elementary school administrators and parents pressured the school board (unsuccessfully) to expand the program to the elementary schools."
Patricia Clark Sperling January 25, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Theresa ~ First, Stratford does not own the Army-Engine Plant, so it is not its to sell. Second, Stratford needs an economic stimulator to start bring economic development back to Stratford so the burden of everything is NOT on the taxpayers. It’s been that way for far too long. Residential property owners and taxpayers have footed the bill for EVERYTHING because Stratford has essentially been “dead” in the economic growth department. The administration (both BOE and Town) cannot seem to get out of their own ways or the ways of partisan politics in order to do anything to help bring Stratford back economically. Selling a property isn’t going to pay for SROs, its going to go somewhere else on a partisan agenda. I have heard, from student at one of the schools where an SRO exists that an additional SRO was hired because the SRO there does absolutely nothing but walk up and down the halls and yell at the students. I was told that this SRO is ineffective, has not in any way “bonded” with the students, but is rather a dictator. I understand the job of police officers is difficult, but I know many that have absolutely great personalities and I know a few who should have their badges taken away.
Rose B January 27, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Still seem to be missing the point: SROs don't keep a shooter from killing in schools. They didn't at Columbine, VA Tech or the most recent school shooting. The problem isn't stemming from lack of armed cops on site. Did anyone hear about the kid that found a loaded gun in the student bathroom of his school? The SRO left it there after washing his hands, I think. More guns in schools the answer to massacre using a gun? What can go wrong.....?


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