Bay area responds to Connecticut school mass shooting

Last Updated: Friday, December 14, 2012

The Bay area continues to react to Friday's morning mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

The shooting left 20 children and seven adults, including the gunman, dead.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office say deputies are working on a plan to increase visibility at all elementary schools Monday in unincorporated parts of the county.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn released a statement.

"As the father of two elementary school children, I cannot imagine the pain of the parents of these innocent victims. To know that these families will spend their holidays burying their children and loved ones as a result of another incident of senseless gun violence is beyond comprehension," he said.

Manatee County's top school administrators met law enforcement this afternoon to assess the need for updating their existing security measures.

Deputies were asked to be extra vigilant as they patrol schools.

Pasco Assistant Superintendent Ray Gadd says schools are reviewing their crisis preparedness plan. He noted there are crisis management manuals in every classroom.

Citrus County Assistant Superintendent Kenny Blocker tells Bay News 9 their schools are in a state of increased awareness.

State Board of Education Chair Gary Chartrand released a statement from Tallahassee.

"On behalf of all members of the State Board of Education, I offer my sincere condolences on the loss of lives today at Sandy Hooks Elementary School. Schools should be sacred places for learning and teaching. As parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, we cannot image the magnitude of the pain to come from this horrible event. The Board and I stand ready to support alll of the efforts of our school districts to ensure schools are as safe as we can make them," he wrote.

Florida Governor Rick Scott directed state flags to fly at half-staff throughout Florida. They will remain there until the expiration of the President's national directive at sunset on December 18.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims of today's tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut,” said Scott.