Starting today, students in Stow and Munroe Falls will see a heightened police presence when they go to school.
Dr. Russ Jones, superintendent of the Stow-Munroe Falls School District, contacted parents by phone Sunday night to tell them that the school shooting in Connecticut forever changed how things are done at schools.
"Last Friday we all experienced the unimaginable, the most horrific events that I have experienced as a professional educator," he said. "What we saw and what we heard was simply unbelievable. This has changed everything. Just like September 11 changed how we travel at airports, what happened last Friday has changed what happens at our schools."
So this week, local police will have "a very heavy police presence in all of our buildings." The Board of Education, as well as mayors Sarah Drew of Stow and Frank Larson of Munroe Falls, along with police chiefs Rick Myers of Munroe Falls and Louis Dirker of Stow, will work together to develop a plan to have "a physical security presence in every single building for the long term."
This is the district's last week in session before the two-week winter break begins.
Jones said in the meantime, principals will review security procedures with teachers and staff, who will make sure that all perimeter doors are locked and there is only one entrance to each school building.
"I can assure you that all our buildings are safe and we are committed to making sure all teachers and staff members will be able to do their jobs, and that our students will be able to learn in a safe environment," he said.
Stow Chief of Police Louis Dirker posted the following message on the department's Facebook page:
"The Stow Police Department in conjunction with the Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for the students and faculty of our schools. In keeping with that commitment, the Stow Police Department is working with the administration of the Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools to provide increased police presence
at all of the elementary schools within the city of Stow.
"At this time the Stow Police Department has a School Resource Officer assigned to the Stow-Munroe Falls High School on a full-time basis. The department also has a DARE Officer who teaches the program in the city schools. As an adjunct to these programs, the Stow Police Department provides additional police presence at the schools through the Adopt-A-Cop Program, which requires police officers to visit the schools in their districts several times a week. The department has always been aware of the need for a police presence in the schools and we will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to insure that we are providing a high level of security for our students and teachers by meeting with the city administration and the school administration to develop a long range plan for school security."