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McKersie Considers Armed Guards At Greenwich Schools

Adding armed guards at schools in Greenwich is one of the security measures being considered according to Superintendent of Schools William McKersie.
Adding armed guards at schools in Greenwich is one of the security measures being considered according to Superintendent of Schools William McKersie. Photo Credit: Anna Helhoski

GREENWICH, Conn. – Armed guards stationed at Greenwich schools may someday become a reality as officials review security measures in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, according to a letter sent by Greenwich Superintendent of Schools William McKersie.

McKersie sent the letter to the district late Thursday outlining security measures being considered at Greenwich schools.

"You can be assured that the Greenwich Public Schools are safe and secure," he wrote in the letter. "At the same time, we are in the process of a thoughtful review of all safety and security measures, and doing so in close coordination with the First Selectman and Chief of Police. Schools nationally remain one of the safest locations for children. We have to make sure that continues to be the case in Greenwich."

McKersie stated in the letter that he has received many emails from parents and staff advocating armed guards at the schools. He said that although he is considering the option, he cautions it is an intricate process.

"Adding armed guards at all schools, which some parents have advocated, is a complicated step that presents many pros and cons, and may ultimately have minimal effects in the type of tragedies in Newtown and Columbine," he wrote. "Nevertheless, we will consider the option as we review our safety and security procedures relative to best practices in Connecticut and nationally."

Some of the superintendent's priorities in the security review include:

  • Conducting a facilities inventory to review and address needs with regard to door locks, window coverings, and other physical factors essential to safety and security.
  • Reviewing all existing safety and security procedures and making sure they are implemented.
  • Standardizing a specific and common procedure for allowing entry to schools.
  • Consulting with principals, Greenwich Police Department, area police chiefs, area school superintendents and PTAs to consider all possible options.
  • Developing a multi-phase plan for improving safety and security, which includes a communications plan to benefit and inform students, staff, parents and community.

Greenwich police, both uniformed and in civilian attire, will continue to provide an increased presence at all district schools for the next few weeks, according to McKersie.

He also added that officials are not at liberty to disclose many of the details of the emergency plans for the sake of safety.

"The safety and security of our students and staff are our highest priority," McKersie said. "We will be thoughtful in the consideration of the various options for enhancing our safety and security procedures."

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