Report by Paula Antolini
March 17, 2018 11:29PM EDT
CT State Rep. Brian Ohler is Forming a Legislative School Security and Safety Working Group
HARTFORD – State Representative Brian Ohler (R-64) is forming a legislative School Security and Safety working group. The group will be designed to evaluate the implementation of safety and security measures the state mandated following the events of Sandy Hook, and to produce new recommendations to ensure school security and safety going forward. Ohler has previously served as a school safety consultant, he is the current Ranking Member of the Regulation and Protection Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, and is a U.S. Army Military Police Veteran.
Ohler stated, “It’s time to take action to protect our most vulnerable population, our children. School zones should serve as a symbol of security to students, parents and families. Right now, they are seen as places of danger. Over the past five years I have worked closely with numerous school administrators, and many school districts, to modernize response procedures and create safety committees. Since the Sandy Hook incident Connecticut has passed comprehensive bills pertaining to school safety and gun control. It is clear, however, when money becomes tight safety-related initiatives take a back seat. It is a priority of mine to look at this issue holistically to ensure that we cover every area in order to best protect our children.”
Ohler was joined by several of his legislative colleagues to call for the formation of the working group, including:
Rep. Carol Hall, Education Committee member from Enfield, whose local school district was a blue-ribbon recipient for its approach to school safety;
Rep. Gail Lavielle, Ranking Member of the Education Committee, from Wilton, whose district includes Westport—site of a recent school security threat;
Rep. JP Sredzinski of Monroe, ranking member of the Public Safety and Security Committee
“We are expanding membership opportunities to the entire legislature,” Ohler explained. “We want representation from each of the four caucuses so we can truly put forth bipartisan recommendations that will be supported in both the House and Senate. Membership will also be expanded to include school superintendents, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and federal agency liaisons.”
According to Ohler, the group will examine the current legislation about school security and safety and its implementation, review state and federal resources available for specific school districts and their uses, and form legislative recommendations. The work group will also do the following:
Measure school districts’ knowledge of legislation;
Availability of school-based mental health professionals;
Parents’ knowledge and understanding of their district’s security measures;
Local educators’ view of the effectiveness of legislation and related programs;
Determine viability of school security measures installed years ago;
Identify new trends and techniques in school security;
Collect recent concerns of educators, students and law enforcement;
Determine what other states are doing to create best practices.
An initial meeting date will be announced in the coming days.
About Brian Ohler