HAMDEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy on Wednesday announced state grants have been made available to improve school safety.
But one education expert has called on the state to provide funds to crack down on the growing problem of bullying and cyberbullying.
Schools in 36 districts across Connecticut will receive $5 million in state grants to improve security in response to the Newtown school shootings, Malloy announced Wednesday.
Malloy said the funding from the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act will be divided among 169 schools, which are chipping in a total of $3.9 million of their own funds for the projects. He said he expects the State Bond Commission to soon approve additional funding to cover remaining applications for security improvements at 435 schools.
Additionally, Malloy said he plans to ask the General Assembly next year to approve additional funding. In total, the governor said he expects the state will ultimately spend about $21 million on upgrades statewide.
Kevin Basmadjian, dean of the School of Education at Quinnipiac University, said there should be an effort to prevent school violence in the first place to ensure that children and teachers are as safe as possible.
He pointed to a number of suicides as a result of bullying via social media in recent years.
“It’s taken very much nuanced forms now where students are doing things and saying things and isolating students – all of this can be really done in a classroom or in a hallway or a cafeteria very easily with technology,” Basmadjian told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.
Basmadjian has called for funding from the state to implement workshops and anti-bullying programs into the curriculum.
The grant money announced by Malloy on Wednesday will be used to reimburse the schools for infrastructure improvements including bulletproof glass, surveillance cameras, buzzer and card entry systems and panic alarms. The state isn’t providing funding to pay for security guards or police officers in schools.
“There is a desire to upgrade across the state,” Malloy said at a Capitol news conference.
Malloy said the improvements can’t stop every random act of violence, but will help ensure schools are as safe as possible.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said it is unnerving that schools have to take additional measures such as adding bulletproof glass.
But, she added, “Our first obligation is to our children.”
The $5 million announced Wednesday included more than $1 million for Bridgeport schools, $463,000 for Naugatuck schools and $351,000 for Vernon schools.
Schools across the state have beefed up security after the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 first-graders and six educators.
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