A vote scheduled today in the Rhode Island Senate could change the way public schools conduct emergency drills. The measure is a response to the mass shooting in Newtown Connecticut, where 26 elementary school students and teachers were gunned down during the school day.
The bill calls for monthly emergency drills including lockdowns and emergency evacuations. The idea is to better prepare school staff to handle a situation like the one in Newtown.
Today's vote comes less than a week after a report of a gunman shut down the University of Rhode Island campus for several hours. It also follows the introduction of a package of gun-related bills at the statehouse and an ongoing national debate in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.
Rhode Island lawmakers are considering several other school safety measures, including one that has raised concerns from open government advocates. The measure would allow school committees to craft emergency plans behind closed doors.