Senator Kelly and Son Testify in Support of School Safety Bill

March 19, 2014

Hartford – Senator Kevin Kelly (R-21) testified along with his son in support of extending school security grants to nonpublic schools. The pair spoke in support of House Bill No. 5564 An Act Concerning School Safety at yesterday’s Education Committee public hearing held at the Legislative Office Building.

“Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the General Assembly took significant action to help protect our schools with the establishment of school security infrastructure grants,” said Senator Kelly. “Our intention was and is to protect our children and make every school a safe place to live, learn and grow. However, by leaving private schools out of the equation, we are missing the mark and not fulfilling our intentions.”

The legislation under consideration this year would make the state’s school security infrastructure grants available to help private schools make a variety of safety improvements. Currently, the grants are only available to public schools. If passed into law, this bill would require at least 10 percent of school security funds be awarded to nonpublic schools.

The school security grants were initially established to reimburse a percentage of the costs associated with school safety infrastructure improvements for public schools. They can be used to support infrastructure improvements including, but not limited to, the 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.

“Securing the funding to make these changes is challenging, for any school. If the state did not offer support, many schools would go without any safety improvements. I do not believe it is fair or responsible to limit this funding to only one group of schools. Parents should feel safe sending their child to school, and students should feel secure every day, in any school setting,” said Senator Kelly.

In the 21st Senate District, this legislation could help schools including St. Jude in Monroe, St. Joseph and St. Lawrence schools in Shelton, as well as St. James and St. Mark regional schools in Stratford.

Senator Kelly’s son Kevin testified at the hearing alongside his father.

“I am here to testify on this bill because I believe every kid deserves a safe school,” said Kevin.

Senator Kelly, alongside his son, urged the Education Committee to move Bill No. 5564 forward.

“It is our responsibility to do everything we can to make each and every school in our state safe,” said Senator Kelly.