(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - The Sandy Hook shootings have led to changes in Connecticut's schools. On Wednesday, the governor announced funding to pay for "hardening the target," making schools safer. But that doesn't necessarily mean armed guards roaming the halls.
Reaction to the murders of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last December has been long and loud. Never again. To make that happen, schools districts have been looking at hardening the target, making schools tougher to get into with bullet proof glass, remote locks on doors and panic buttons to notify local police if something does happen. It all costs money, and, Wednesday, Governor Dannel Malloy announced $5-million is going out to 169 schools in 36 districts to help pay for such work. More than 600 schools applied for money and Governor Malloy says they will all get paid eventually as more than $20-million becomes available.
“We think these districts did an outstanding job in coming forward with proposals,” Governor Malloy said. “We believe that this money would be well spent and we're going to fund it."
The Governor made clear this money is for infrastructure improvements, not to hire armed security guards and there's only one town in the state that's done that since the Sandy Hook shootings.
Enfield hired 18 retired cops to deploy in every school in town; each carries a Glock handgun. The cost is about $500,000 a year. Some in town are for it.
"I will pay extra money to have guards put in schools," said Joseph Riley.
Others aren't so sure saying it’s too soon after Sandy Hook.
"It's still too fresh, I think. I don't know if it's a rash decision or a decision that's made... I don't know. Some days on the fence. Some days I'm not," said Eric Grenier.
Most schools have concluded that locked doors and panic buttons for quick notification of local police make more sense.
Joe Cirasuolo, who heads the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, says their research shows that schools need to "work out some way to get the first responders there as quickly as possible. That's the best way to deal with a crisis when it's happening."