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Parents: Norwalk School Lockdown Highlights Need For Better Communication

Cranbury Elementary School Was Under 45-Minute Lockdown

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NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Some parents in Norwalk endured a terrifying Wednesday morning after Cranbury Elementary School was briefly placed under lockdown over a report of gunfire in the area.

A teacher called in a report of gunshots somewhere outside the immediate area of the Norwalk school around 11:25 a.m., but a police investigation could not confirm that any shots were fired.

During the 45-minute lockdown, students were kept inside protectively while police investigated.

“Well, I was very scared, but I was a little bored because we were sitting on the floor for like almost an hour,” fourth grader Ryan Davey said.

Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said officers were in the area and responded quickly.

“We had officers that were very close to the school at the time the call came in, they were almost right there. So they were there very quickly. There were people that were walking their dogs in the area. They didn’t report hearing anything. Cranbury Park, we checked the trails, we checked with people that were in the park. They didn’t hear anything and we’re checking all the area around there to be safe, but so far there’s no other confirmation of any incident,” Kulhawik told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau early Wednesday afternoon.

Police said no one other than the teacher reported hearing gunfire and the source of the noise was not found.

Parents were allowed to pick up their children after the campus was found to be secure and the students were sent home with a note explaining what happened.

Cranbury Elementary is just about 30 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, the scene of last December’s massacre that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, the lockdown and ensuing investigation was a better-safe-than-sorry situation for police and for parents.

Even after the lockdown was lifted, Norwalk police stayed on the grounds of Cranbury Elementary to provide a reassuring presence.

Some parents said the school scare prompted an inevitable response due to earlier episodes of violence.

“Just overreaction because of what happened in Newtown. So you have to be safe. I don’t know what happened, but whatever happened, happened,” parent Betsy Martinez said.

As police secured the school, word began to spread through social media and a number of parents came to the scene.

“They thought they heard gunshots, so they immediately called the police and they did immediate lockdown, which I’m very happy about that,” parent Maria Giglio told Aiello.

Giglio said she left work and drove to Cranbury with a knot in her stomach.

“I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if the kids were safe because I wasn’t getting any emails or anything. I actually went online and I found it,” she told Aiello.

“My general reaction was scared, very scared. You don’t know and nobody, obviously, is going to tell you. It’s in lockdown, you don’t know what’s going on in lockdown,” parent Karen Davey told Aiello.

Many parents praised the school staff and the police for their actions, but have raised concerns about a lack of timely information.

State Sen. Bob Duff kept Gov. Dannel Malloy updated about the situation throughout the day. Duff also told the governor his community needs help creating a system that better alerts and informs parents.

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