Legislation that Makes School Safety Plans Secret Worries Open Govt' Groups

May 20, 2013

A handful of open government groups are urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to block legislation that would shroud school safety plans in secrecy. 

Bills in both the House and Senate keep details of school safety plans out of the public record.
Credit file / RIPR

Both the House and Senate bills allow school districts to keep their safety plans out of the public record. Steve Brown, executive director for the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said putting the details under wraps keeps parents out of the discussion.

“We’re very concerned that in an attempt to try to provide security to students it may be having just the opposite effect by not giving knowledgeable people the opportunity to offer suggestions and comments,” said Brown.

Bill sponsor Rep. Joseph McNamara, said parents can still give their input, but details of school safety plans should not be available to anyone who wants to harm children and teachers.

“People should realize that when we put information out there regarding safety and security it can be utilized by individuals that seek to harm our children,” said McNamara, “and that we should be very cautious in today’s world.”

The governor’s office said he is open to listening to concerns about the legislation.

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