Heightened security in WNY schools
Students across the nation are back to school following Friday's shooting. Here in Western New York, many districts have heightened security in their schools. As YNN's Kate McGowan reports, it's an effort to help students and staff feel safe in the classroom.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — For nearly two hours Monday morning, students at Hutch-Tech in Buffalo stood outside their building, waiting to get in.
"I just really don't think it's right that all the kids are standing outside," said a parent.
District officials said extra security measures have been put in place in Buffalo schools following the Newtown shooting massacre. That includes police presence at arrival and dismissal times, keeping a watch on surveillance cameras, and at some locations, checking students with metal detector wands.
But some parents said the increased safety measures caused a chaotic scene outside Hutch-Tech Monday, as administrators only allowed a handful of students in at a time, as they were each patted down.
"Here we were told to send our kids to school like it was a normal school day and tell them that they're safe and everything is okay. And my daughter has been here since 7 a.m. and she's still waiting outside, so that bothers me a little," said parent, Amy Zenger.
Another Buffalo parent exclaimed, "You know it's causing other problems. Tempers flaring, it's cold out there. It doesn't make any sense. They should have more people on staff for whatever they're doing, checking bags or whatever so more kids can get in school."
Some parents said they're satisfied with security, as all doors are locked during normal school hours. But others feel that if someone wanted to get in, they would find a way.
"Look what happened in Connecticut. He busted out the glass," expressed parent, Jennifer Cybulski. "You just got to be a little more, a little bit more aware of what's going on and try to take precautions."
Over the weekend, some parents talked to their children about their emotions following the shooting in Newtown.
In a robocall to parents Friday, Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown said counseling services would be available to students.
"Please note that student support teams are in place at all schools and the district crisis team will be expanded and available for all students next week," the superintendent explained.
"I know that the school district here in Buffalo has a very strong plan," said Mayor Byron Brown. "We collaborate with them very extensively to make sure that our children, our teachers, and our parents are protected in and around our schools."
District officials in Buffalo plan to keep security and counseling the priority throughout the week.