EAST HARTFORD - Gov. Dannel Malloy met with U.S. legislators, the stateâ€™s educational leaders and students Friday morning to discuss school safety measures.
The meeting, which included U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell, Emergency Management and Public Protection Services Commissioner Dora Schriro and other community stakeholders, came a little more than two weeks after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Malloy highlighted the important steps Connecticut has taken to reduce gun violence and improve safety at schools in recent years, while also mentioning the need for further investment in security.
â€śAs Congress and other states grapple with this issue in the aftermath of yet another tragedy, I truly believe that Connecticutâ€™s legislation should serve as a model for what can be done to keep our kids safe,â€ť Malloy said, pointing to a legislative package in 2013. â€śAs such, I am reaching out to my colleagues across the country to offer guidance, support, and lessons learned.â€ť
The 2013 legislation Malloy was referring to banned the sale of high-capacity magazines, increased the stateâ€™s assault weapons ban and made it more difficult for people facing mental health crises to obtain a deadly weapon,
The legislation also called for investing in security upgrades to schools and, to date, state and local governments have invested a total of $53 million for security upgrades at 1,200 Connecticut schools. Blumenthal pointed to Connecticutâ€™s â€ścommon senseâ€ť gun safety laws as things that are proven to work.
â€śThe nation can build on the Connecticut model - a ban on deadly assault weapons, investments in school security that respect local priorities, and measures to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who are a danger to themselves and others,â€ť Blumenthal said.
Officials in the meeting said the safety of students is an important responsibility of government.
â€śWhile our schools should be as safe and secure as possible they should also not resemble fortresses,â€ť Wentzell said. â€śIn East Hartford we have seen firsthand how the governorâ€™s investments in school security are being put to use and achieving that important balance between ensuring student and staff safety and still maintaining a positive, welcoming and nurturing educational environment.â€ť
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5076 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.