While the other aspects of Connecticut’s new gun control law have received more notoriety, the new law included a number of provisions intended to improve school safety and security including the following:
- Requires each school to have a safety committee;
- Requires each school to conduct a risk vulnerability assessment;
- Require each school to have a safety and security plan which incorporates national standards and takes an “all hazards” approach;
- While not requiring it, the new law encourages schools to conduct “mental health first aid” training for teachers, and directs the Commissioner of Education to consider requiring such training as part of new teacher training programs.
- Requires all new school construction utilizing State grant funds to comply with new (yet to be promulgated) school construction safety standards.
In addition to the above, the legislation establishes a competitive grant program to reimburse Towns and Cities for school security improvements. It also requires the establishment of a task force to study behavior health services available in the State for children between the ages of 16 and 25 and to consider requiring intensive individual behavior interventions services in schools for students exhibiting violent tendencies. Lastly, of significance, the new law requires the school and district Climate Coordinators to receive and collect date regarding behaviors which may not constitute bullying, but are suggestive of disturbing behaviors.
As is the case with all new laws, many of the details will need to be analyzed and considered as districts attempt to understand the implications of the new law presumably with guidance provided by the State Department of Education.