Westport Parent Explains “Grateful Tears”

A Westport mother writes:

My kids are in middle school and elementary school. Yesterday, I kept thinking of my son who is right next door to Staples, at Bedford.

Like many parents I’m so worried about our kids, going back to Newtown. Thankfully, yesterday’s outcome was as positive as it could be. I do feel for the kid who made the threat. It’s sad to see someone so troubled that they felt that this was a possible option.

I just brought my son to Bedford. I became teary, seeing a police officer out front and camera crews at the end of the Staples driveway.

They were grateful tears. Tears of relief seeing the officer. I was thinking about superintendent of schools Colleen Palmer, and the police caring about our kids so much. In that moment I felt so proud.

Trying to hide my own emotions, I asked my son if he wanted me to walk him in. With a shrug he said, “I’m fine Mom.”

He gave our dog a pat on the head through the back seat window, and off he went. Just like it was any other day.

Back to school, feeling safe and proud.

5 responses to “Westport Parent Explains “Grateful Tears”

  1. This seems to me like a healthy and constructive reaction to what happened. Thank you.

  2. Donna ODonnell

    Agree. Truly grateful for the school administration, our kids teachers, police and the brave kid who spoke up.

  3. Please ensure that our kids (and parents) have that feeling of security and comfort every day……support the SRO program in ALL our schools. Please sign the petition and join over 300 of your neighbors in this effort. Thanks.


  4. Hi Phil, I signed your petition. Thank you for organizing.

    I feel in districts like Westport where funding should not be a blocker, we should be doing everything we can to deter any possible incidents and respond appropriately if they do happen. I know I would feel better with a trained officer in front of every school, and I’m sure it would help give students and teachers peace of mind as well. It’s not foolproof and needs to be done in conjunction with continuing vigilance by everyone in town, but it’s a step we need to take. Political leaders in this country have neglected to do anything to prevent this from happening, despite numerous warnings and incidents around the country – so we need to do what we can to mitigate these circumstances.

    That being said – I’d go back to my first point: “funding should not be a blocker”. I know last year’s budget debate was somewhat contentious, and I’m sure we’re lining up for more of the same.

    As a callout to the BoE, BoF, and RTM: this is an urgent, emergency situation. I’d urge these boards to consider the funding request for SROs at ALL schools ASAP as such – an emergency – not as a chip to trade for some other program, or that we need to fund from reductions elsewhere. I’m sure nobody on any of these boards, or in the management of our town and schools, or Westport taxpayers for that matter, would ever forgive themselves if something ever happened – and we didn’t make every possible effort to stop it.

    • Jason: Thank you for your support and for your well thought out and well put response. I believe we can fund the program if we look at it as a joint initiative by not only the school’s budget, but the PD and Town as well. Keep in mind these officers work 12 months a year, but only 10 are needed at the schools, so the PD should foot some of the bill. In addition, an idea that was brought up at the BOE meeting also has great merit towards this initiative, that being to establish police substations at the schools so officers throughout the day would be stopping at the schools to do paperwork, etc. at the end of their shifts. This represents a shifting of police presence to the schools, without increased costs to the Town. If we work cooperatively I believe we can find ways to make this work in a cost-effective way. Perhaps we should institute a surcharge to companies that use our police for security on road projects and use that to offset the SRO program.