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School security panel meets with educators to gather input

A Connecticut panel reviewing school security standards following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has been urged to keep their solutions simple and focus on adding classroom door locks and communication devices.  The School Safety Infrastructure Council held its fourth meeting Thursday night. 


State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor says there has to be a balance, making sure that security is in place while keeping the schools a learning environment.  He says these are schools, not a fortress.


Newtown Middle School teacher and union leader Ron Chivinski suggested that classroom doors be retrofitted with locks that can be used from the inside and outside, allowing teachers to lock down classroom. 


Connecticut Education Association Vice President Jeff Leake says his members think there should be a way to inform teachers of intruders without alarming students. 


It was the first session to gather input from people who spend much of their time inside schools.  Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Executive Director Bob Rader says the group has gone out to various organizations to talk about policies that may effect faculty and students.  Rader says school size, location and design are all variables in setting policy.  One size will not fit all because of demographics and location.


Rader says many Boards of Education have worked with consultants or worked with police to come up with what will work best for their district.


Members are examining a variety of measures, including the feasibility of reinforcing entryways, and using ballistic glass, solid core doors, computer-controlled electronic locks and buzzer systems.  The group is also looking into using cameras on school grounds to enhance security. 


Council members must submit recommendations by January 1st to state agencies and legislative committees.

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