ASPEN - Local law enforcement has increased its presence at the Aspen School District's Maroon Creek campus in the wake of the shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut.
According to Superintendent John Maloy, local law enforcement increased both its vehicle presence and manpower on campus during the school day Friday and at dismissal time.
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo and Maloy agreed that the ramped-up police presence would be "the best course of action" through Monday. The two will confer at that time about whether any longer-term plans need to be put into effect.
Maloy said he informed the school principals and the transportation director of the tragedy in Connecticut - where 20 children and six adults were killed when a man opened fire at an elementary school - and about the added security measures on Friday morning.
"My goal is to inform, not alarm," said Maloy. "We will use this tragedy as a learning opportunity for our Crisis Response Team.
"Also, I'm certain our building leaders will use this tragic incident as a teachable moment with students when the time is appropriate."
Toward that end, parents received an email Friday afternoon offering tips for talking with their children about school safety.
And, on Friday evening, a moment of silence honoring the victims of the shootings took place at Paepcke Park.
"Emily Weingart and I grew up in a small, safe town like Newton, Conn., and Aspen. We both plan on raising a family in Aspen and don't want something like this to happen in our community," said Mandy Welgos, who with Weingart organized the grassroots event. "Although we may not be preventing school shootings with a moment of silence, we feel like its the right thing to do - to bring people together to give a prayer, thought, hope or tear to show respect to those families who lost loved ones and small children for no reason."