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Meeting brings major school safety experts to Connecticut

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SOUTHINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last month, school security has become a major concern.

On Monday, educators from across the country came to Connecticut to learn more about what can be done to keep our schools and children safe.

In the weeks following the tragedy, schools have started to review their own security protocols and plan on adding more to keep everyone safe.

"That was a terrible thing that happened at Sandy Hook," said Christine Corey of Southington. "It makes me cry to think about it and we need to do whatever we can to be sure our babies are not in danger."

Principals, superintendents and town leaders from cities and towns in Connecticut headed to the Aqua Turf in Southington to hear from a panel of national experts on some of the best practices used across the country to secure school buildings.

"I think the safety of our children comes first," Corey said. "Worry about the cost later. Worry about protecting our children now."

The conference was dubbed as a security symposium. Districts also learned about the steps that can be taken at a local level when it comes to ensuring the safety of students inside.

On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother while she slept at her home before he went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults. He killed himself as police made their way into the building.

While educators learned tips Monday, many school districts have already stepped up security. In addition to reviewing security procedures, some have added a police presence for the time being or private, unarmed security guards.

Safety reviews are under way in school districts statewide like Ellington, Wolcott and Waterbury.

In Glastonbury, schools officials are putting in place $600,000 in security upgrades including guards at elementary schools.

In Bristol, administrators are tightening up their buzzed entry.

In New Britain, officials reviewed its security last month including cameras that monitor visitors.

The security symposium held in Southington on Monday was presented by a number of organizations, including the state Department of Education, the Connecticut Association of Schools and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

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