Following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, dozens of Connecticut school districts are getting millions in state grants this year to help upgrade security.
Bennie Dover Middle School in New London has already seen security improvements.
With the funding, New London improved public address systems, radio communications and added cameras.
Keeping students and school staff safe is a priority for parents and the state.
New London will be reimbursed $716,000 by the state for upgrading communications and simple items like doors.
It’s part of a $10 million statewide grant program to districts.
“Of course people and procedures are an important part too. We do lockdown drills and all kinds of other practices to get ready for the unexpected," said New London Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tracy.
The security grant program began back in 2013 following the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Since that time, $53 million has been handed out to schools all over the state.
Norwich schools received $112,000 in grants to be put toward $146,000 of security upgrades.
The specific grant item is expected to improve the districts phone system which failed last September.
Parents said they want other security improvements.
“I think they should have like a metal detector,” said Jennifer Ridenour, of Norwich.
“We did an upgrade of our phone systems, primarily to allow teachers access to 911 inside the classrooms,” said Ledyard Superintendent of Schools Jason Hartling.
Ledyard also used the funding to replace 60-year-old doors.
“For our town because of the significant budget cuts these are projects we took several years ago and we’re getting reimbursed for it now in this second round of security grants,” Hartling said.
There are 22 New London County schools that received more than $1 million in security grants, to be put toward $1.6 million made in improvements over the years.
“I wish there were police or guards there when there is school all day long. Patrol the hallways, patrol the grounds,” said Colleen Sweeney, of Waterford.
Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, many schools and school districts have created security committees to constantly review and prioritize their needs.
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