Schools step up police patrols after Florida tragedy - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Schools step up police patrols after Florida tragedy

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Police have stepped up patrols at schools around the state (WFSB) Police have stepped up patrols at schools around the state (WFSB)

The effects from the tragedy in Florida are still being seen in Connecticut.

There's a good chance extra police patrols are at schools across the state, or districts may have reached out about additional safety measures.

Extra police presence and an overall heightened alert seems to be the new reality, at least for now, and while it's supposed to be a sign of safety, it's lead to overreactions. 

“It's scary. I saw a Facebook post today, I put my kids on the bus to play for a couple of hours and I don't know if I’m sending them to war. It's very scary today,” said Tammy Duggan, who is a grandparent.

The extra presence can calm those nerves during this time of heightened awareness, but that same sensitivity is also resulting in overreactions.

In Enfield, panic ensued online after a bus driver posted concerns over a student wearing a sweatshirt with a gun on it.

Police and school officials quickly investigated, and soon learned there was no threat. They say the student never made one and had no bad intentions. The sweatshirt was simply connected to the wildly popular video game Call of Duty.

Dr. Laura Saunders from the Institute of Living said these types of overreactions are normal when times are still very tense. 

“We do overreact or act in an irrational manner in response to it,” Saunders said.

But she says there's a better way of identifying warning signs.

“I think what's coming out about this individual in Florida is that there clearly was a pattern of warning signs and events. That's what we're looking for. That pattern,” Saunders said.

While parents may find themselves getting caught up in the hysteria, Candace Chester, school social worker at the Asian Studies Academy in Hartford, says that can have a negative impact on the child you're trying to protect.

“You create the climate and culture of what's going to go on,” Chester said.

The hysteria and even the extra patrols that we've seen can take a toll on children.

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