School administrators: Impossible to make "fortresses" out of schools

(CBS News) On Monday, teachers across the country returned to work after a difficult weekend, grappling with the question of if and how to discuss the Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut with their students and security concerns.

CBS News special correspondent Lee Woodruff spoke with school administrators in Westchester, New York, about the first day back and potential changes to school security measures.

"I think the kids just felt good about being in the routine and seeing that school was normal and as it should be," Valerie Hymes, a principal in the Harrison School District, told Woodruff.

And as they returned to routine, schools across the country received court orders to arm school police.

Louis Wool, the public school superintendent in Harrison, NY, said he had a "very frank discussion" with the chief of police to determine "what enough of a presence to make sure that parents felt that we were taking their concerns seriously without frightening fourth and fifth graders who saw police were standing outside their building."

Wool added that "My greatest concern is that we are focusing perhaps this debate too much on how to fortify or make fortresses out of the school, which is frankly impossible."

He said they conduct many simulations throughout the year, "to determine where any flaws in our thinking might or our resources," but that safety measures cannot be the only protective action taken.

"We can do more certainly to protect kids and gun control...but at the end of the day we need to focus on how communities work together with schools to identify children that are disaffected," Wool explained.

For more from Woodruff with Wool, Hymes, and teachers, watch the video above.

Comments