Some mourn innocence lost at Norwalk schools

NORWALK, Conn. – Almost one year after the Dec. 14 massacre  at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, in which 26 people, including 20 children, were killed, some people say that tightened security at Norwalk Public Schools has created an entirely different atmosphere.

“Everybody’s on edge,” Angela Harrison said, describing the mood at Nathan Hale Middle School. “They’re not friendly any more. We’ve lost that friendliness with the staff and the parents.”

One person said parents picking up their children from an after-school program at Naramake Elementary School now have to go around to the back of the school, where it is poorly lit, to the library. A staff person then summons their child via a “walkie talkie,” and parents cannot go into the building.

Carolyn Fuller, who works in special education at Jefferson Elementary School, said that’s for the best.

“Especially after school you can’t have just anybody go into the school,” she said.

A recent drill at the school was an eye-opener, she said.

“Believe me, I’m a grown woman,” she said. “I’m telling you, when we had to … put the light out – we had a policeman in our building. When that door started jiggling, I can imagine how kids that have to go to school today must feel because I got scared and I knew it was only a drill. But he was jiggling the door. Now I’m looking around the room thinking where am I going to go? You’re thinking. But then what do you think when you’ve got 24 kids in the room? Where are they going to go? So it’s a whole different day now.”

But Dawn Calle, the mother of a 4-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy, said Brookside Elementary School teachers made improving school safety fun, covering the windows with artwork. The furniture in the rooms was rearranged, she said, and the kids played games – looking for hiding places.

The doors are locked.

“It used to be I could come into the building,” she said. “You have to call inside now and they let you in… But they haven’t really changed the feel of the school. I still feel like I can go and once you’re known, you’re known, kind of thing.”


10 responses to “Some mourn innocence lost at Norwalk schools”

  1. anonymous

    This is a weak article, poorly researched. What is the point?

  2. Casey Smith

    The point is that our public schools are beginning to resemble prisons.

  3. FYI NoN,
    The town is NewTOWN, not Newton.

    1. Mark Chapman


      Thanks for that typo catch. It has been fixed.

  4. marjoriem

    Perhaps this administration has gone too far? Drills that scare kids? Not too cool.

  5. Not for nothing,
    But all this broohaha is old news – when my children were in elementary school in Norwalk, many years before Newtown, the doors were secured and no one allowed entry unless buzzed in (once inside, well that is open for discussion). This was also the same security at Sandy Hook.
    After school, all doors were locked and entry was granted by after school employees.
    Newtown didn’t change anything other than to up the cost for more (false) “security” (and the only thing to stop a shooter is another shooter – an undercover marshal in the school)

  6. Carolyn Chiodo

    Talking about a waste of money, I just logged into the Parent Portal – NO grades, NO history, one assignment from the superstar teacher. Teachers were trained at the start of the year – why aren’t they using it? Not user friendly, or is it something else? Wouldn’t you think the staff would use the system, test, and have a history before going live. Any parents feel the PP current?

  7. Norwalk parent

    I can’t get access to the parent portal even after several calls. Some districts have included updated websites and portal information in the teacher evaluations.

  8. Carolyn Chiodo

    SORRY, I have to admit I WAS WRONG. Send an email to the the school and they should reset your password. I was in the current week and not using the PP correctly. It really is an amazing tool.

  9. sofaman

    Newtown changed nothing? That’s wildly insensitive.

    If anyone would like to know if this is the same old thing, talk to a parent of a young child. I know many parents who have children who are way too young to be burdened with worrying if what happened in Sandy Hook could happen to them. Yet, they are.

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