NORWALK, Conn. – Most Norwalk residents want an ongoing police presence in their schools, or so their answers to a Norwalk Daily Voice poll would indicate.
The Daily Voice used its Facebook page to ask residents what they thought of police officers remaining in the schools, as they are this week, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. Out of 20 responders, only three objected. The rest generally expressed enthusiastic support.
“Very good idea,” wrote David Orr. “Without an armed adversary to slow him down, any nutcase can bust into a school and wreak havoc for a few minutes until police get there. Open your eyes people, this is REALITY!”
Farhan Memon disagreed. “Bad idea,” he wrote. “We should not be turning our schools into fortresses. The security state is not the answer.”
Norwalk officials placed officers at all 19 city schools by Friday afternoon following the shooting, and they announced on Monday that officers would remain there this week at drop-off in the morning, again at pick-up in the afternoon and throughout the day.
Schools are closed next week for Christmas break, but officials have not announced whether officers will remain for the rest of the school year or beyond. The city’s high schools have had a resource officer on campus for a while.
“Having a police officer at a school is a great idea, and definitely does not turn it into a fortress,” wrote John Palmer. “A police officer can blend nicely into the school community and become a great friend, role model, and source of comfort for the children.”
Palmer added that he has worked as an elementary school teacher, and students enjoyed seeing the Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer in the schools. “And again, if ever needed, he becomes a deterrent.”
Resident Diane Barrett-Aguiar said that with officers already in the high schools, she does not see a problem with them in the lower grades.
“The younger kids do look up to their authority, and it is an unfortunate reality that there is a need,” she wrote.
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