Post-Newtown Commission Warns Against Making Schools Like Prisons


More than two years after Adam Lanza killed 20 students and six faculty members in Newtown, Ct., as well as killing his mother and himself, a state commission released a draft report of with the goal of preventing such killings, the New York Times reports. The recommendations include simple measures, like ensuring that all classrooms can be locked from the inside, as well as more ambitious and difficult reforms of both the mental health care system and the way the public views those struggling with mental illness. There are also calls for stricter gun laws, better training for school staffs and a comprehensive plan for law enforcement to follow in the event of a mass shooting.

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission spent dozens of pages on school design, but warned against going too far and turning schools into fortresses. “The initial, and entirely natural, reaction to a tragedy like the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School is to consider steps that would make it virtually impossible for such a violent event to occur at a school ever again,” the authors of the report wrote. After listening to testimony from officials in other communities, however, the commission found that there was a danger of schools' feeling like “minimum security prisons in terms of their design.” The report offers recommendations on designing schools to increase the situational awareness of teachers and staff and to safeguard students.

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