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Fairfax Police to Step Up Presence at Schools

After shootings in Newtown, Conn., FCPS says move is for community reassurance, not a specific threat; Vienna schools focus on making resources available to students.

When children return to school on Monday, families should expect to see an increased police presence at all Fairfax County Public Schools.

The move is a reaction to Friday's shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and six teachers, according to police.

The gunman also killed his mother at her nearby home.

On Sunday, Superintendent Jack Dale wrote in a message posted to the schools' website that "this is not in response to any specific threat but rather a police initiative to enhance safety and security around the schools and to help alleviate the understandably high levels of anxiety. Police patrols will be increased throughout the school day from the opening of schools to dismissal. As always, FCPS security personnel will also be patrolling our schools, focusing on elementary schools during the school day."

"There is nothing more important to us than providing a safe and secure learning environment for our students and employees. I want to assure you that we will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to protect them," he continued.  

In an email Sunday night, Thoreau Middle School officials said "it is not possible to anticipate how students will be impacted by this event once they return to school tomorrow.  However, our goal is to restore a sense of normalcy in their school day while reassuring them that they are safe at school.  Our student services staff (counselors, psychologist, and social worker) will also be available to support students in need."

"We are shocked and saddened by the horrific tragedy that took place Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut," Vienna Elementary School Principal John Carmichael wrote in a Sunday night email to the community. "As educators who dedicate our lives to keeping children happy and safe, our hearts break for this school community."

For parents unsure about how to explain Friday's tragedy, see "How to Talk to Your Kids About Connecticut Shootings."

A fund has been set up to help the school in Connecticut. For more information, see "How to Help Families Affected by Newtown School Shooting."

Melanie Meren December 17, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Perhaps police presence is not the solution to school safety, but rather, knowing more about the people in our own community is - maybe talking to one another is. Read more of my thoughts on my latest blog post: http://wp.me/p10cvN-yx
Susan Turner December 18, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Gov. McDonnell has now opened discussions about arming teachers and school staff in Virginia schools - I urge you to let him know directly what you think of this idea.

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