RI ‘ahead of the curve’ when it comes to school safety

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In the wake of another school shooting, Rhode Island officials are continuing to review their safety policies and procedures in an effort to improve security.

Two high school students opened fire at a Colorado charter school on Tuesday, killing one of their classmates and injuring eight others. The incident once again shined a spotlight on school safety nationwide.

Executive Director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees Tim Duffy said while there is no simple solution to gun violence in schools, Rhode Island is ahead of the curve when it comes to school safety.

“Safety is paramount I think the legislature is taking a very affirmative step last year and this year to ensure students are safe in their classrooms,” Duffy said.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Education, schools are required to conduct four lockdown drills each year. Districts are also required to develop a school safety plan and conduct school safety assessments every three years.

Captain Derek Borek of the Rhode Island State Police, who is also the head of the state’s School Safety Committee, said in addition to favoring measures like school resource officers, locked classroom doors and even closed-circuit televisions, he is also advocating for the creation of threat assessment teams.

“We want to ensure that every school in the state of Rhode Island has a baseline of safety measures,” Borek said. “Each school will have a committee, per se… they would actually sit down and would be proactive instead of reactive to any troubled student parent or anyone with involvement in that school.”

Duffy said he supports the legislation that would create the threat assessment teams.

“That’s getting ahead of the curve and that’s another good measure that’s making its way through the legislature,” he said.

The bill to create the teams has already been passed by the House and has not yet been scheduled for a Senate Committee hearing.

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