WILTON, Conn. – The security at Wilton Public Schools is not a problem for parent Maggie Dobbins.
“They always make me get badges,” said Dobbins, president of the Wilton High School Parent-Teacher Association, referring to her visits to the schools and how she signs in and gets a visitor’s sticker.
With the topic of school security coming to the forefront after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Dobbins is satisfied with what the Wilton schools do to keep campuses safe. Other parents she has talked to haven't expressed concerns, either.
The district is reviewing security measures at Wilton’s four schools, Superintendent Gary Richards told residents in a recent letter. The district has already taken some steps, Richards said, including that all visitors are checked in through the district’s visitor management system and all exterior doors are locked.
Wilton police are a “visible presence,” Richards said, with officers making stops at the schools while on regular patrols. Students are practicing emergency drills, and the district will review protocols for those drills with building principals.
Richards did not outline specific security efforts but assured parents that “we consider this matter our highest priority.”
Dobbins hopes those changes will not include armed guards at every school, something the National Rifle Association has advocated. That would make children nervous, she said. “In my eyes, school is supposed to be a friendly place from when you get off the bus,” she said. “I’m just fundamentally against it.”
Alison Mark, who has two daughters at Cider Mill School, also opposes armed guards at schools and says security in Wilton’s four buildings is fine. “I can’t imagine any mother would feel her child is at risk in Wilton,” she said.
The Newtown tragedy should encourage more focus on mental health issues and gun access, Mark said. “I can’t believe the people who think having (armed) security guards will deter someone who is sick."