Conn. Officials Discuss Safety in Wake of Sandy Hook Shooting

(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - Just over three weeks after the Sandy Hook school shootings, more than 850 school officials, municipal leaders and first responders from across the state gathered to talk about security.

They heard from experts on prevention and mitigation, on preparedness, response and recovery. After Sandy Hook, there have been lots of suggestions.

"One of the things that was recommended against very strongly was arming teachers and principals because what it comes down to is you can make sure somebody knows how to use a firearm, but you need to make sure the person that has that firearm knows how to use it in a school setting," says Joseph Cirasuolo, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

Assigning an armed police officer trained to work in a school was discussed as a better idea.  Locking doors, key card entries, good sight lines between the parking lot and the door were also recommended.  

The Sandy Hook Elementary school shooter apparently had a history of mental health problems.  It would be easy enough to put up high walls, razor wire and armed guards, but that makes a school into a prison and officials don't want that. Officials aren't pointing a finger at the elementary school.

"Sandy Hook probably did more in terms of school security than most schools," says Cirasuolo. "Some people even refer to it as a model."

The shooter used an assault rifle with 30-round magazines to commit the crime. Many believe gun control has to be part of any discussion of school security, but that debate will begin Wednesday with the opening of the 2013 session of the state legislature.

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