Thursday’s tragic California school shooting has resonated in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and Association of Public School Superintendents met today for their annual convention. Many topics were discussed as administrators from around the state gathered for a convention at a hotel in Groton. Among the topics was student safety.
School officials reacted to Thursday’s shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California that claimed the lives of two teenage students.
“Many may look at it and say, it’s only two but it’s two too many,” said Fran Rabinowitz, Executive Director of the CT Association of Public School Superintendents.
According to Everytown, a gun safety support group, there have been at least 30 school shootings in 2019 alone.
“It’s tragic,” said Ellington Superintendent of Schools. “It happens far too often in our country.”
The list of American school shootings is tragically long and with every new tragedy, protocol is questioned.
“The protocols have changed by the fact that we are much more sensitive and aware of what’s going on around us,” explained Bob Rader, Executive Director of the CT Association of Boards of Education.
Lockdowns have become common practice and security that was once absent at schools is now ever present.
“The police are often there when they hadn’t been in the past. School resource officers are more prevalent in our schools and of course security is number one on everybody’s list,” Rader said.
With security constantly present and lockdown drills as part of standard safety protocol, students today face a difficult reality.
“Many of our children today don’t know what it was like to go to school and see it as a completely safe place,” Rabinowitz said.
Rabinowitz further explains more needs to be done to assist students who might need support.
“We have a responsibility to step our mental health services across the nation, across communities,” she said.
While some budget money has been taken from curriculum and redirected toward safety, providing a safe environment is essential when creating a learning environment.
“You are dealing with very young children sometimes and they have to feel secure at all times, especially if we expect them to learn," Rader said.