Almost two month after Adam Lanza gunned down 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the effects of that day are still being felt across the country, and no more so than in Connecticut.
Here in Hamden, school officials are working to make sure nothing like that ever happens in a town school. To that end, people from all facets of education and security have come together to form a School Safety Committee to investigate how to make schools safer.
The committee is made up of principals from all of the district's public schools, as well as security personnel, custodians, teachers, secretaries and representatives from ACES, Hamden Hall, St. Stephens, St. Rita's schools and Sacred Heart Academy, according to Supt. Fran Rabinowitz.
"It's a rather large group," she said, made up of about 35 people who meet every two weeks.
"The committee is looking at all the components of school safety," Rabinowitz said, including what is already in place, what additional components can be instituted, what can be done to prevent anything from happening and what should be the response if something were to happen.
Some steps have already been taken in the wake of the Newtown shootings. Before the shootings, all buildings were locked and visitors had to be buzzed in. Now, in order to be admitted into a school building, a visitor has to call the school ahead of time to let school employees know they will be coming. No one is let in without calling ahead.
The committee is looking at steps that go beyond that, Rabinowitz said, such as connecting the two-way radios that security personnel use at the schools to the police department.
"It's something we're looking at. Should they be?" she said.
They're also considering steps such as laminating windows to make them more difficult to break, Rabinowitz said. Lanza shot out the windows of Sandy Hook Elementary School in order to gain access to the locked building.
Panic buttons such as the ones used in banks are also being considered, she said.
In her proposed 2013-14 budget, Rabinowitz included $30,000 for security spending, and said that a larger requested will be made in the capital budget for more substantial security upgrades that will come from the committee's recommendations.