Public weighs in on school safety

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- The public had a chance to weigh in on what to do to keep schools safe in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. On Friday, the first of four public hearings was held by the legislative group that's reviewing school safety.
    
One of the biggest talking points following the tragedy at Sandy Hook is school security. How can we better protect our children is a question that brought Southington's Erin Stelma out to speak before "The School Security Sub Committee of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety."

"It concerns me that if I can get in as a parent saying I have these classes, so can anyone else with a lethal weapon," said Stelma.

It's a delicate balance, fortifying a school while not making it feel like a maximum security prison. There is the hotly debated issue of arming teachers. To some it makes sense to allow a teacher to exercise his or her Second Amendment rights to others...

"If it was some random kid on the street and we shot them, we might get excused by the courts. Why on earth would we want to have situations like that potentially happen in our schools," said Anna Deleep, Norwalk Councilwoman.

When you think of Columbine, the shooters came from the outside. At Sandy Hook, the shooter came from the outside. What can not be overlooked is security within a schools walls.

"From a small child with psychiatric and behavioral problems having an outburts that's become a danger to themselves or other people, to the second year retained eighth grade student who the probation officer thought might be taking steroids, getting in a fight at bus duty ready to bash a sixth graders head in, who got in his face with bravado," said Susan Peck, Social Worker.

Erin Selma, with a child on the way, has a daughter entering school next year. What she asked this committee is to make real change and avoid the status quo.

"I don't think it's so much taking away the lethal weapons, but being able to have someone there to discourage or to combat it should that situation arise," said Selma.

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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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