Fairfield School Safety
Bringing the national debate closer to home
After school violence has become a hot national topic, Fairfield and its residents continue to seek extra school safety and security measures.
Since the new year, changes have been made to improve safety at Fairfield schools. In January, a Q&A information session was held to get the ball rolling in a series of planned public sessions coordinated by the Town, the Board of Education and the Town’s PTA Council. These sessions are being implimented in order to respond to the many questions raised over the past year or so. Fairfield will continue to improve safety conditions and keep the discussion open throughout this Spring.
Changes made include: infrastructure changes – locked doors, camera’s and buzzer systems have been implemented in the elementary and middle schools and staff security is present at the high school entrances. In all schools, there will be increased police presence throughout the day, two way immediate communication between schools and police, staff and administration have received a ‘crash course in school and general security’ by the Police Deptartment, lock down drills will occur twice a year at each school, and Sergeant Wyatt is stationed at the Board of Ed to help with immediate communication from the police side of public safety in the schools. Improvements will be ongoing and continuous.
“In order to keep security secure, we wont want to get into too many specifics,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Title. “I will say that there are enhancements to cameras and technology that are out there, whether its panic buttons (question asked), whether it’s better cameras, additional camera’s, enhancements – those all will be under consideration as we upgrade. All those options are on the table.”
Staggering statistics: as read by Selectman Tetreau “On December 16, 2013 the Attorney General announced that the FBI had assisted in the prevention of 148 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. Most potential shooters were either arrested or thwarted by mental health intervention.”
“In the year after Sandy Hook there have been 25 school shootings which claimed 17 lives. Since Sandy Hook, 194 children, ages 12 and under, have been shot to death in the U.S. 17% of 154 active shooter incidents in the U.S. (2002 – 2012) took place in our schools.”
Team Work: “Police, Fire, Central Office, Board of Ed and the Town are working together to prepare a plan, identify priorities and propose a budget for improved school security,” continued Tetreau. This budget proposal will be presented to the BOS/BOF (board of selectman/board of finance) in March, 2014.
Chief MacNamara explained: “The safety of the children in the town of Fairfield is very important to the Department and to me. Every single day we think about safety. We will continue to make our school and town buildings as safe as possible. Safety and security is a #1 priority.” A 3 step process is ongoing: training of the staff, security surveys of all the buildings (along with limiting access in/out of the schools), and improved communications.
“The public session on school security was an important step to update parents and the community on what steps we taken to review and enhance security in our schools. Most importantly, we discussed the approach we would follow going forward into the budget. This is not just a school issue. Following this we will review our security protocols in all our town facilities,” said Tetreau.
Visit fairfieldct.org for further information.