More than a year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut, Rhode Island officials have offered a blueprint for increasing school security. The "Model School Safety Plan" is a lengthy report, intended to guide districts updating their security plans, under a new state law.
I confess, I have yet to wade through the 300-pages of recommendations in the report. It is meant to serve as a model that school districts can adapt for their own use.
Rhode Island's Department of Education says it has reviewed school safety plans from every district in the state, after legislation passed in the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings.
RIDE Spokesman Elliot Krieger says there was a fairly wide range of quality among the plans.
In the year since the Newtown tragedy, RIDE has worked with the State Department of Emergency Management on recommendations for school districts to beef up their security procedures. The Rhode Island Association of School Committees says they are reviewing the report.
One year ago, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and killed 20 children and six adults. Afterwards, schools in Rhode Island and around the country were on high alert, and many called for a conversation about how to make students safer.
So, what happened?
In Rhode Island, lawmakers passed a bill requiring school districts to work with local law enforcement on safety reviews and report their emergency plans to the State Department of Education.
The Rhode Island Senate has passed a bill requiring monthly safety drills at all public elementary and secondary schools. The bill also calls for two lockdown drills every year. Supporters say the requirement will make students and staff more familiar with school safety procedures.
The bill is part of a series of measures aimed at increasing school safety in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut. The incident killed 20 students and 6 staff members, and it has sparked a national debate about gun control.
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.
Rhode Island lawmakers will consider legislation Wednesday aimed at increasing safety measures in public schools. The bills, now in the House and Senate Education Committees, would require school and law enforcement officials to work together to look for weaknesses in building security and craft new school safety plans.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras says the city is boosting efforts to try to reduce gun violence after last week’s school shooting in Connecticut. As Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis reports, Taveras and other mayors plan to stage gun buy-back programs across the state next month.