Forum Focuses on Safety Concerns at Hamden High School

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There are calls for change after students and staff have dealt with violence and threats involving Hamden High School recently.

The school was shut down for days and reopened this week with increased security.

“Why is this happening in our community?” asked one student at the forum Thursday.

At the event, students and parents spoke out about safety concerns at the high school.

“As parents of two Hamden High School students, we have become increasingly more frightened, petrified of sending our children to school,” said Sarah Northrup of Hamden.

Recently, there’s been multiple threats prompting the school to close for a few days.

Also this year, one student was arrested for bringing a loaded handgun to school and there was a stabbing right off the campus.

“A kid that I knew that I thought nothing would happen to him was stabbed in the back multiple times,” said another student.

Thursday was a much different scene outside the school than when it reopened on Wednesday.

That’s when students waited in long lines to go through new security including metal detector wands.

“We’re really created for this type of issue,” said Jacqueline Beirne, Hamden Strengthening Police & Community Partnerships Council facilitator.

They put on this event which allowed people to voice their concerns to leaders of police, the schools, the town and other organizations.

“You’re talking about crime being committed in our high schools, a lot of unrest in the community, a lot of questions that are unanswered. This is where we’re supposed to come in and bring the community together with the leaders,” said Beirne.

Students expressed that they don’t feel they are always being listened to and many believe more needs to be done, especially when it comes to mental health support.

Despite the current challenges, some hope the hard work being done now is not overlooked.

“We’re a family in there and there is a lot of good stuff happening there,” said Jeremy Brewer, a school resource officer.

The group is aiming to find solutions to some of the challenges talked about.

The district says besides security, it is working to increase mental health services.

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