The CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) believes that the most elemental responsibility of a civilized society is to protect its children. The people of CT, therefore, have every right to expect that schools will be safe and secure places for children and for the staff members who serve them.
The shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown is so contrary to that expectation that it leaves all of us searching for reasons as to why it occurred and wondering what actions can be taken that will prevent such an event from ever happening again. Superintendents of Schools take the safety of children and staff personally. Given the responsibility entrusted to them by their communities, they are particularly interested in preventing a re-occurrence.
Superintendents also grieve for the innocent young lives interrupted as well as for the heroic adults who died, yes, in the line of duty. That grief is palpable because there are children to be protected in every school system in the state. The staff members who serve them deserve the same.
CAPSS respects the professional work being done by investigators on the scene in Newtown. There are, however, aspects of this event which are occurring over and over in school and other public settings and that must be addressed. CAPSS and its individual members feel a collective sense of responsibility and a personal need to examine public policy and practice in order to preserve safety at schools in the future. CAPSS agrees with President Obama when he said, at the prayer vigil in Newtown, the fact that it might be complicated to address policy and practice does not mean that we cannot do it.
In the near future, CAPSS will be developing its own position and recommendations on this subject and will be working with education and public policy groups to address these issues. The caretakers of the education system and those who support public education need to be among the leaders of what must be both a statewide and a national conversation.
CAPSS also supports the establishment of a National Commission on Violence to look at the issue on a broader scale. This commission should address examination of the effects of violent videos, the impact of depictions of violence in entertainment venues, consideration of appropriate regulation of firearms, and provision of coordinated services for the mentally ill.
As an organization dedicated to advocacy for children, we can do no less
Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed. It is not edited.