Newtown Panel Issues Proposals for School Violence Prevention
A Connecticut state commission released a draft report of recommendations to prevent future school shootings.
The recommendations include simple measures — like ensuring that all classrooms can be locked from the inside — as well as reforms of both the mental health care system and the way the public views those struggling with mental illness, reported the New York Times.
There are also calls for stricter gun laws, better training for school staffs and a comprehensive plan for law enforcement to follow in the event of a mass shooting, said the Times. The commission also dedicates dozens of pages to discussing school design, but it warns against going too far and turning schools into fortresses.
“The initial, and entirely natural, reaction to a tragedy like the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School is to consider steps that would make it virtually impossible for such a violent event to occur at a school ever again,” the authors of the report wrote. After listening to testimony from officials in other communities, however, the commission found that there was a danger of schools’ feeling like “minimum security prisons in terms of their design. Such facilities may, in fact, effectively eliminate some of the risk of an event like Sandy Hook,” the report said. “But they achieve that objective at a great cost, not just financial, but mental, emotional, and self-development as well. That is not the direction the commission believes the American educational system should follow.”
The report offers recommendations on designing schools to increase the situational awareness of teachers and staff members and to safeguard students, including the fact that classrooms can be locked from the inside.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will consider the recommendations, some of which he can effect without legislative approval, the Times said.
The governor directed the panel to recommend changes in three areas: mental health, school safety and gun violence prevention.