UPDATE (4:10 p.m.)—In the wake of news that a gunman reportedly shot and killed 27 people at an elementary school in Connecticut, Anne Arundel County police boosted security at all public schools Friday afternoon prior to dismissal.
According to Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) spokesman Bob Mosier, a county police officer was stationed at every school during dismissal. He also said security will remain heightened as children arrive at their schools Monday morning.
The shooting occurred Friday morning in Newtown, CT.
Newtown Patch is on the scene near the school, providing live updates and breaking news.
According to Newtown Patch, parents of children who were killed during the shooting are still being notified by public officials and emergency personnel.
In a statement released by AACPS (also attached to this article as a PDF):
We have invested heavily in technology such as video intercom systems at main entrances to schools, and in electronic visitor tracking systems, which allow us to detect registered sex offenders who may try to gain access.
Front office staff must buzz in visitors to our school buildings. At our newest schools, there is a double-door system that prevents direct access from the front door to hallways where classrooms are located.
All of our schools run periodic emergency drills to familiarize students and staff with what to do in a variety of situations ranging from tornadoes to active shooters in buildings. This month’s drill, ironically, focused on an active shooter in the building. ...
[P]arents should monitor the reaction of their children to these events, as well as the activities of their children. Please be sensitive to the news coverage, as some of it may be graphic and disturbing.
It is parents who are best able to gauge the moods and reactions of their children to circumstances such as these. Please know that our school counseling staffs are ready and prepared to talk to any student or parent who has a need to discuss their feelings.
For the latest update on the Connecticut incident, see Newtown Patch.
In President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation Friday afternoon, he said, “Our hearts are broken today.”
Gov. Martin O'Malley released a statement:
“The loss of innocent lives today in the shootings in Connecticut are tragic beyond words. Katie and I send our thoughts and prayers to those who lost loved ones in this heartbreaking tragedy.
"It's incomprehensible to even attempt to understand the pain these families are feeling today, especially the speechless pain of losing a child. We encourage everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers."