Measures in place after knives found

NAUGATUCK — A retired Naugatuck police officer will be stationed at Hop Brook Elementary School during periodic points in the day in response to some safety concerns expressed by school officials and parents, interim Superintendent of Schools Jim Connelly said.

Sean Simpson, who recently retired from the borough’s police department and is employed by the Board of Education, will be at the school for an undetermined amount of time.

The concerns come after two knives were found at the school in a week. On April 28, a folding knife fell out of a girl’s locker after she opened it.

Connelly said it is still unknown how that knife got into the school or into the student’s locker.

A kitchen knife was found in a school hallway a week later.

Connelly said a student brought that knife into the school “in a non-threatening way.”

Nobody was injured in either incident.

Connelly said the district is working to “put together a comprehensive program dealing with school safety.”

Connelly said he’s working with police and school officials to facilitate a discussion with students about safety and what they should do when they see something. He said different types of discussions will be presented to younger students than with older students.

In a letter to parents, Hop Brook Principal Kathryn Taylor encouraged parents to be diligent about checking what their children bring to school

“It would be helpful if parents check backpacks daily to make sure items that aren’t appropriate for school don’t enter our building,” Taylor wrote.

The school has introduced a yellow box in the main office where students can report issues if they aren’t comfortable talking to an adult, according to the letter.

Connelly said more information about the first incident may come to light because of the privacy of the box.

Connelly said he was pleased with the communication he received from parents as well as information that allowed the school to find out how the second knife was brought into the building.

Taylor wrote in the letter the student received appropriate interventions.

“The communication was tremendous between the school and parents,” Connelly said.

Safety upgrades to the school, including additional cameras, new doors and window upgrades, will be done over the summer. The upgrades are part of safety improvements across the district.