Peoria officers try to ease fears by visiting schools - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Peoria officers try to ease fears by visiting schools

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PEORIA, Ariz. -

Schools are dealing with a very real anxiety on this Monday morning following the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday.

Districts were trying to make the return as reassuring as possible as students and parents returned for classes.

A Peoria Police Officer handed out stickers as he mingled with students at a Peoria elementary school. The message was subtle but clear to children, parents, and teachers on this Monday -- you are safe here.

Not his usual Monday morning routine. Officer Wayne Newman is strolling the halls of Frontier Elementary School in Peoria on special assignment. He was there to provide something intangible – reassurance, peace of mind -- after a school tragedy that could easily cause high anxiety and fear.

"We're out letting children know, letting teachers know we care what happened on Friday and just wanted to make sure everyone feels safe," says Officer Newman.

Peoria Unified District is taking a proactive approach to the shootings -- reaching out to give support to teachers, students, and parents dropping off kids this morning.

"I'm sure they hugged a little bit tighter this morning. Maybe two ‘I love you's' instead of one. But by the most part what I saw was a return to school, our children were there, we were welcoming them," says Peoria Unified District Office Administrator Steve Savoy.

Savoy spent the day visiting elementary schools and talking to teachers, who, though resilient, have got to be shaken by what happened at Sandy Hook.

"Going up to them and individually saying thank you for taking care of our children," says Savoy.

Savoy also reminded everyone that the security plans in place are solid and effective. This valley substitute teacher agrees, but says she does worry.

"I would feel better in some ways if someone on campus was qualified with a gun. A lot of campuses don't have school resource officers, they are truly and desperately needed at every school in every district, because you never know when you're going to be the one school where something happens," says Katherine Schindewolf.

We asked Steve Savoy about the growing voices we hear already, to do more at schools to keep kids safe on the chance that a madman with guns will storm it. He says they are ready to reassess and address changing needs.

He expects much to come out of the investigation now going on in Newtown, Connecticut.

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