Officials meet on school safety issues

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- The General Assembly has decided to move to Newtown for one night later this month to hear from the town first hand. The decision came Friday at the first meeting of the legislative super-committee formed to respond to the tragedy.

The leaders of the legislature made it clear today that unlike the State of New York they plan to hear from as many members of the public before they vote on any changes in the law in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

"We are on the front line of this particular tragedy and therefore are on the front line of action that we can be taking as a state to address the causes of this tragedy," said Democratic Speaker of the House Rep. Brendan Sharkey.

That's why the super committee announced Friday that they will convene at the Newtown High School on Wednesday, January 30 at 6:00 p.m. to hear from the people in the town, first hand.

"They want us to take action and they want us to do so in a way that dignifies them and the memories of their children and all the people of Newtown beyond partisan bickering," said Republican Minority Leader Sen. John McKinney.

Three other public hearings will be held at the State Capitol on the school safety issue on Friday January 25, on gun violence on Monday January 28 and mental health issues on Tuesday January 29.

It has already been determined that many schools in the state still do not have some of the safety measures that are needed.

"While many Connecticut schools have great physical plant that includes automatic lock doors and buzzers and video to get in, others haven't had that upgrade yet," said Democratic Rep. Andy Fleischmann of the School Safety Subcommittee.

And it's already clear that many of the issues confronting the committee overlap.

"School safety in the way everyone thinks about it but also looking at things like how many school social workers are there, how much support are there for students that have mental health issues as well," said Democratic Sen. Beth Bye of the School Safety Subcommittee.

In some cases those are some of the things that have been cutback in recent years because of tight school budgets.

"I think it gets lost in the 'we need a police officer at the door,' while we also need staff inside who are helping students who are having sort of social, emotional behavioral challenges," said Bye.

The committee also announced today that a website will be established next week for anyone to submit testimony in writing if they are unable to attend any public hearings.

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Connecticut (change)

Connecticut has 169 cities and towns, which serve as the fundamental local political subdivision of the state. Connecticut is the 5th of the original thirteen United States.
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Governor: Dan Malloy
Lieutenant Governor: Nancy Wyman
Attorney General: George Jepsen
State Treasurer: Denise L. Nappier

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