Senator Boucher Works to Gain Bipartisan Passage of School Safety Legislation

May 29, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) co-chair of the School Safety Working Group gained unanimous support for the bipartisan passage of legislation that will help to improve school safety measures.

“Over the past six months, I have been working with members of the task force to improve school safety and ensure that our children have a safe and secure learning environment,” said Senator Boucher. “I am proud that this proposal gained widespread bipartisan support and continues the important work of reviewing and making improvements to our school safety measures.”

“This bill will allow school districts to provide additional security if they so choose,” added Senator Boucher. “Many towns throughout our district have implemented new safety plans, and we want to make sure that any armed school security officers are fully trained to minimize any potential collateral damage that could result in an active shooter situation. I am confident that these strict new guidelines will allow schools to protect our children and improve school safety measures.”

Senator Boucher’s School Safety Working Group was established in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy to make recommendations to strengthen school safety measures.

AN ACT CONCERNING SCHOOL SAFETY establishes new guidelines for school security. It requires school districts to hire only current or retired police officers if they will be carrying a firearm as part of their official duties. Each year, the officers will be required to obtain annual training and certification by certified trainers from the Police Office Standards and Training Council. This organization sets standards for police officers throughout the State of Connecticut. The measure passed by a unanimous vote in the State Senate and awaits further action by the House of Representatives.

In addition, The Governor also recently announced that $5 million is being made immediately available to municipalities in the first round of school security funding under the Competitive Grant Program. The grants will reimburse municipalities for a portion of the costs associated with making safety and security improvements in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting including:

  • development or improvement of security infrastructure
  • school personnel training in the operation and maintenance of the new or improved security structure
  • purchase of portable entrance security devices, including metal detector wands, screening machines, and related training
  • installation of surveillance cameras
  • penetration resistant vestibules
  • ballistic glass
  • solid core doors
  • double-door access
  • computer-controlled electronic locks
  • entry door buzzer systems
  • scan card systems
  • panic alarms or other systems

Administered by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Department of Education (SDE), and the Department of Construction Services (DCS), the funding will go to schools with the most need i.e. — buildings with little or no existing security infrastructure located in school districts. Two additional rounds of funding, both $5 million, are expected in the next year.

The School Security Infrastructure Council, also formed recent legislation, is holding their first meeting next week. Their initial report outlining best practices in school safety and security is due January 2014 and will provide a framework for more detailed best practices. Please refer to the DESPP website for more information on how to apply.