TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — The tragic school shooting in Texas that left at least 19 children and two adults dead is prompting New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to direct law enforcement to increase their presence at schools throughout the Garden State. Murphy says there are no credible threats to any New Jersey schools at this time.
“While there are no credible threats, NewJerseyOAG has directed law enforcement to increase their presence at schools throughout New Jersey effective immediately,” Murphy tweeted. “The NJSP will increase their presence at schools where Troopers are the primary law enforcement.”
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County Prosecutors will direct their municipal police departments to increase law enforcement presence at schools throughout their jurisdictions.
We will do everything in our power to ensure students, parents, and educators feel safe at school.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 25, 2022
He adds that county prosecutors will tell their police departments to increase their presence at schools throughout their areas.
“We will do everything in our power to ensure students, parents, and educators feel safe at school,” Murphy tweeted.
In a letter to families, Camden City Schools said they expect many students already know about the school shooting in Texas. Principals made a brief statement and offered a moment of silence during their Wednesday morning announcements.
Teachers in Pre-K through fourth grade are not allowed to bring up the shooting to their classes, but if a child asks questions, teachers are being told to acknowledge what happened, without going into detail, and reassure children that they’re safe in school.
Congressman Donald Norcross of Camden (D-01) spent Wednesday meeting with his constituents, many of whom are also parents, and he said each one had the same three questions.
“‘Really, it happened again?’ ‘What makes it stop’ is the next question, and, ‘Why aren’t you doing something about it?'” Rep. Norcross said. “We do have the ability to do something, but you have to be at the table willing to do it, and unfortunately, many of my colleagues aren’t going to do it.”
Students at Glen Landing Middle School in Gloucester Township were greeted by a group of uniformed police officers Wednesday morning.
“We want to do our part to show strength and to try to bring some calm and let the students and especially parents know that we’re here and we’re not going to allow that to happen if we can help it,” Gloucester Township Police Chief David Harkins said.
Harkins says immediately after the tragedy in Texas, the department started discussing a plan to increase the police presence at schools. A plan that was reinforced by orders from Murphy and N.J.’s acting attorney general.
“We’re really just trying to have those contacts with the kids, let the kids know that it’s ok,” Harkins said. “We’re smiling out here. Of course, we’re on guard for anything suspicious, we’re looking out for things, but with having no threats, we really just want them to see a uniformed presence to let them know that you’re going to have a safe day at school.”
CBS3 spoke to parents who were soothed by the sight of more officers outside the school.
“Makes me feel a little more comfortable because things are getting a little bit crazy around here,” parent Tom Romeo said.READ MORE: Melanoma Isn't Just Caused By Environmental Factors Like Sun Exposure, New Research Says
Others were hoping police would take it a step further and send officers inside.
“It’s good to have them at school, but they’re all in front. Why are they not in the building?” parent Ledon Smith said.
Harkins says schools are regularly patrolled by the school resource officers, but the department is always willing to do more to keep the kids safe.
“Our kids are the number one thing,” Harkins said. “That is who we want to protect, we want them to be safe. They should be able to school safely and not be worried about the type of thing that happened in Texas.”
Harkins says the department will step up the police presence at least through the rest of the week and probably through the end of the school year.
Authorities say the 18-year-old gunman shot and killed at least 19 children and two adults who were inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. They say the alleged shooter was killed by a border patrol agent who rushed into the school without backup.
The shooter reportedly entered Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, at approximately 11:32 a.m. local time, after shooting his grandmother and crashing his vehicle near the school. An official from the Texas Department of Public Safety said that upon entering the school, the shooter fired at “children, teachers, whoever was in his way.”
President Joe Biden is again urging lawmakers to stand up to the gun lobby and pass stricter gun legislation. He’s also ordered flags on all public buildings be flown at half-staff.MORE NEWS: Pennsylvania Lawmakers Want To Pass Red Flag Gun Law To Help Battle Mental Health Crisis
CBS3’s Ross DiMattei and Brandon Goldner contributed to this report.