Heightened security greets Bay area students as they head back-to-school after Connecticut massacre

TAMPA - Additional officers, site inspections and renewed training were all on the menu in the Tampa Bay Area as the 8th largest school district in the nation addressed safety concerns.

With the tragedy of the 20 students who died in the Conn. elementary school shooting last Friday, local schools weren't taking any chances today.

"It's real real sad."

Tony Hampton has two kids who attend Cahoon Elementary, and two more who go to the Middle school next door.

While he knows his kids are well cared for, he -- like countless other parents we saw -- was reluctant to let go.

"One… I almost didn't bring them to school, but my girls love school so much that I couldn't turn them down for going to school so…"

In light of those fears, the Hillsborough County School system has partnered with Tampa Police and the Sheriff's Office to ensure every District school had additional uniformed officers on campus first thing this morning.

"That's to ensure that everyone knows that we're taking every safety precaution that we can possibly take," said Tampa Police Sgt. Kert Rojka.

"And to give a sense of security to all the parents and students," he continued.

Principal Joanne Griffiths says her campus routinely remains on a modified lockdown since the school is so open and accessible. 

But now, as her normal Resource Officer gets very visible back-up, she's sure its even more secure and she wants students to know that.

 "We truly see our officers TPD as partners in what we do because we are always working together with our community partners, our Resource Officers , school security … so I think that our families, our students will feel reassured."

Reassurance in this final week before Christmas break -- one normally filled parties and levity -- that this so-called "soft target" is hardened and that everyone here is serious about security.

"We want parents to know that we are here to protect them, their students, and the staff of our schools.  We take that extremely seriously and we want to give everybody a piece of mind knowing that their campuses are safe," said Sgt. Rojka.
 

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