Schools Step Up Security After Newtown Shooting - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Schools Step Up Security After Newtown Shooting

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VOORHEES, N.J. -

While the horrible shooting that left 27 dead in Newtown, Conn., did not happen in our area, countless parents here and around the country are obviously worried about sending their kids to school Monday morning.

School administrators across our area are increasing their patrols, reviewing safety plans and bringing in more counselors in the wake of the school shooting.

FOX 29's Chris O'Connell has more on what they're doing to reassure parents and students.

"I can't watch the news. I do, and then, when I do, all I do is cry," one woman said.

It's hard enough for parents to process the tragedy. What about your kids?

One thing is for certain. It won't be a normal Monday morning at school.

"I think that parents and kids are going to be very disquieted. They're going to be very upset, worried," Haworth said.

Forensic psychologist Thomas Haworth says parents should be talking to kids about the tragedy. But, more importantly, they should be listening.

"What folks can do today is have that conversation, maybe walk to school with them tomorrow to help make that bridge and help recognize it's OK today," Haworth said.

He said parents should be "asking them what they know and inquiring about what they know so they can have a conversation about what they know and set their minds at ease."

In Philadelphia, the entire safety policy is under review.

School district police officers got a refresher Sunday on who is and who isn't allowed to be in school buildings.

"We are going to collaborate with the city of Philadelphia, with the school district, with the community, with parents, with student groups, and anyone who can help us in ensuring that our schools are safe as possible," Inspector Cynthia Dorsey said.

She added, "We're sitting down at the table now to come up with different ways to keep intruders and suspicious persons out of our schools."

Some police departments, like Voorhees, N.J., plan an increase in uniformed police patrols around schools, bus stops and playgrounds.

What might be more challenging is the emotional toll. Almost every district we spoke with is bringing in more crisis counselors.

This is one way school resource officers train for the unthinkable. A few years back, FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser brought you inside active-shooter training in New Jersey, during which officers try to stop a gunman while trying to get as many students out as possible.

"We can't waste time outside we need to get together form up and go inside to neutralize the threat," one of the officers said.

Parents are hoping it never comes to this here or anywhere again.

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