Ledyard police officers were planted in and around schools today in an after Friday’s heartbreaking events from Newtown and that practice, or some form of police presence will continue throughout the rest of the week.
But, by all accounts, Ledyard’s first day back at school was cautious, yet normal, and thanks to the Ledyard Police Department, some would say calming.
“We all agree that it was pretty comforting today for parents, staff and students to have the presence of police officers,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Graner. “It went extremely well.”
Graner said that a having trusted adults around is the bottom line for instilling a sense of safety and security for students.
“We think is a good step in maintaining a sense of security,” he said of the police presence. “They really became helpers in our schools and there was a palpable sense of security in our schools.”
Graner said he heard from teachers that students really enjoyed their time with the police officers who joined them at recess and for lunch during the day.
“It’s almost a community policing notion,” said Graner. “It’s a good idea that the children get to see and meet and have a positive relationship with a police officer.”
People on Facebook were supportive of the measure.
One Patch reader posted, “Thank you to the Ledyard police dept. for patrolling our schools today. I feel as though today is not enough, it should be done everyday! My fear as a parent is a copy cat! Obviously today with police at our schools there is no harm. But what about tomorrow when the patrols are lifted? Unfortunately there are some sick people in this world and I fear they will seek publicity in a copy cat situation! Please keep our children safe.”
Graner said the teachers’ goal today was to conduct and maintain a sense of normalcy as much as possible, which worked “extremely well.” He also said teachers and administrators reviewed safety protocols, which won’t change but will certainly be treated with heightened importance.
One student sought counseling, he said, but mostly the day was filled with heartwarming moments, like when one student in third grade hugged her teacher and said, ‘thanks for protecting me.’
“I think the teachers did a lot of counseling partly in the form of assurance and partly in the form of hugs.”