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Local Schools Stepping Up Security In Wake Of Newtown Massacre

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Parents watch their children enter Central Elementary School in Riverside. (CBS)

Parents watch their children enter Central Elementary School in Riverside. (CBS)

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UPDATED: 12/17/2012 11:02 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Across the country, schools will be on high alert following Friday’s shooting in Connecticut.

Here in the Chicago area, it’s no different, as parents and children will be seeing an obvious stepped-up security presence at their schools.

In Riverside, police plan to drive around all the schools in this district and even go inside this morning.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya Reports

Security will be tight at Central Elementary School. All morning, officers walked along the sidewalks outside school.

Amy Jacksic lingered outside until her son went through the doors doors.

“Those were all our kids in Connecticut,” she said. “It’s hard.”

She said it helped to see officers outside.

Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said it’s part of an effort to reassure parents that Riverside school officials are ready to assist in any emergency type situation.

He plans to have uniformed personnel at all schools this week.

When Frank Mercado dropped off his second grader at Ames Elementary School, he also was happy to see a police officer out front.

It was a sign of reassurance.

“The first thing I did when I came home, I just gave my kids a big hug,” he said. “It was heartbreaking.

Fourth-grade teacher Doreen Forret came to work today with her students ever on her mind.

“I worry about the kids, always,” she said. “The kids are a target and we love them dearly. We would protect them with our lives.”

For Chicago Public School students, there won’t necessarily be visible police presence this morning.

However, in the wake of the shootings, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is asking every CPS teacher and administrator to review their school security plan.

“Go over the exercises they are supposed to, just as a level of precaution for our children, our parents our teachers and principals,” he said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michelle Fiore Reports

The mayor says it’s important to not only look at the plan on paper but to become well-versed with it to ensure more than 400,000 students are safe.

Grief counselors will be on hand at all Chicago Public Schools today.

CPS officials say the schools are prepared for all types of emergencies

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