Day: March 3, 2018

State Emergency Center Activated

Press Release


(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he will partially activate the state’s Emergency Operations Center beginning at noon on Friday, March 2, 2018 to monitor storm conditions across the state and prepare for winter weather that could potentially impact afternoon and evening travel.  Forecasts are mixed with weather models showing very high winds, heavy rainfall, and variable levels of snowfall throughout the state.

“We are monitoring this weather pattern diligently, and because of the timing of this storm I am calling for the partial activation of the state Emergency Operations Center to better coordinate rapid response to any problems that may arise during Friday afternoon’s commute,” Governor Malloy said.  “Residents should exercise caution and allow for extra travel time.”

Commentary A Plea for Increased Security

by Amanda Duffy

Image result for lockdown drill

I sat on the cold tile floor, huddled in the closet of Joel Barlow High School with sixteen of my classmates. My teacher cried and armed us each with glass beakers; we were in science class. He tearfully explained, “for defense…just in case.” This was the Monday after twenty first graders and six adults were brutally shot down in their elementary school classrooms, in an event that left the world stunned by a crime unprecedented in its horror. We were on lockdown for reports of a man with a gun; it was a false alarm, but tensions were high. The Friday before, I did the exact same thing; I sat on the cold tile floor, huddled with my classmates, checking news updates on our phones; reports that 26 people were slaughtered in cold blood. They were being murdered in their place of learning, just 11 short miles away from where we currently sat.

The events that took place in December 2012 have shaped me as a person, and shaped my entire experience as a student at Barlow. I was a freshman at JBHS in 2012, and since those two days in December, I have never felt safe in that building. That being said, I knew that Joel Barlow would step up and make changes. I knew that Connecticut as a state, would come together, and work to prevent another tragedy like this; how could we not? It happened in our own backyard. To our neighbors. To our friends. To the teams our kids play sports against. To the parents we grocery shop with. To the families who live on roads we drive everyday, and to the town we love to visit in the summer for their famous ice cream.

But I was wrong. Joel Barlow never stepped up. They never took action. They never made a change. They failed me. They failed all of their students.

Security and safety are the cornerstone of learning; you cannot learn if you do not feel safe. And I never felt truly safe at Joel Barlow. I never felt as safe as I should have given the severity of a situation so close to home. Now, five years after the Sandy Hook massacre that so greatly affected our community, we sit and mourn yet another school shooting. I am absolutely disgusted, and disheartened by the lack of change that my community has made in protecting our town’s most vulnerable, and I demand change.

Joel Barlow currently employs three security staff members during the day, with one on duty at night, but no one at the school is trained as a police officer, none of the security guards carry weapons, and the school does not have a school resource officer. I am calling for immediate change and action. Following Sandy Hook, an armed officer and an SRO was sent to both the elementary schools, and the middle schools, but not the high school. Why? Why aren’t all of our students being protected? Why aren’t all of our student’s granted the right to feel safe at school? Why are we picking and choosing?

School Superintendent Thomas McMorran said he believes the current security structure in place at Barlow is sufficient, but I disagree. As a student at Joel Barlow, I continued to watch a group of guards continuously follow the same handful of “troublemakers” to and from the bathroom; often leaving their guard station. I continued to watch my classmates walk in and out of the building during school hours, when they were not supposed to, with no questions asked; no one knew that they were leaving and entering. I also continued to watch faulty, desensitized lockdown drills be treated like complete jokes. I recall drills where teachers broke protocol and continued teaching, and I even had a drill in which a substitute teacher didn’t know how to lock the door. What if that had been a real, active-shooter situation?

We are a town that prides ourselves in our school system, yet we are failing to provide our high school students with the basic safety, comfort, and support that we provide to the rest of our school systems. It is absolutely imperative that Joel Barlow steps up and takes necessary actions to further protect its students by adding an armed officer, and SRO to its security plan, while also reviewing outdated lockdown protocols, and re-training faculty members. This has been an issue that has been ignored for far too long, and I am more than ready for the safety of our high schoolers to be taken seriously.

Are You a Member of this Community?

Jaime Baikataris grew up in Redding. Although he now lives in Westport, he works here at RES. Jaime wrote this thoughtful piece that appeared in WestportNow. Reprinted with permission.

To the Editor:

I was at work when I found out something had happened yesterday: “Hey, what’s going on in Westport?” someone texted. My heart dropped.

The last time I got a text like that, I was a freshman at Staples, sitting in the library, and the Newtown shooting has just occurred.

Now I’m a sophomore in college, sitting at my desk, and Westport is the subject. Today “close to home” became “home.”

Those are my friends, those are my teachers, and this is my town — our town. I’m angry that it hit home.

Staples taught me something though: my anger won’t do anything, but our community will.

In the weeks after Newtown, Staples teachers often spoke about a sense of community. They taught us to be in our community, invite others to our community, and to love our community.

Yesterday a brave student acted on a love for our community; he or she might have just saved it.

My question to all of the readers is: are you a member of this community? Do you teach your kids to be members of this community”

Do you make kindness a priority, putting a smile, wave, or “hello” on your list of things to do? Do you take the time to read our local news outlets or blogs?

Do you make time to volunteer or work within our town, to give selflessly to a cause that you love?

Most importantly, do you trust the people around you, and are you yourself trustworthy?

Every time there’s a shooting I hear about gun control, mental health, and security measures.

What I do not hear about is the importance of community — the importance in being a member of a group of people who care about you, and who give you something to care about.

Yesterday our educators, our emergency service personnel, and our municipal leaders showed us exactly how the community should be protected.

But it was a high schooler who showed us exactly why we need to teach our kids to love their community.

Because one day, they may end up saving that community.

Thank you,

Jaime Bairaktaris,