In Year Since Newtown, A Wide Spectrum of School Safety Responses


In the year since the Newtown, Ct., school schootings, schools across the U.S. have reacted with nearly opposite responses, says the Center for Public Integrity. Texas’ Jonesboro Independent School District has armed a select group of staff members. “If somebody walked in that door and opened fire,” says Superintendent Matt Dossey, “we would have a chance.” Monroe, Ct., nine miles from Newtown, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading buildings and hiring school resource officers, town police officers who are posted at the schools full-time. Connecticut tightened the law on guns in school so that only active or retired law enforcement officers could serve as armed guards.

In Washington, D.C., the Justice Department gave $46.5 million in the 2013 fiscal year to fund 370 school resource officers for schools nationwide. Districts have added thousands of such officers on their own, said Mo Canady of the National Association of School Resource Officers — augmenting the 10,000 or so that had already patrolled hallways nationwide. Dozens of states passed laws. Rhode Island, for example, required schools to conduct safety assessments with police and fire departments every three years, and another requiring that schools update emergency plans annually. In March, South Dakota explicitly allowed schools to authorize concealed weapons for teachers. Six states have passed similar laws—Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas, says the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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