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VA Governor Orders School Safety Review

In wake of Newtown shooting, Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to look at all resources to keep campuses from kindergarten through college safe.

In the wake of Friday's school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced a state plan to review school safety in Virginia at all levels.

McDonnell said Monday he plans to identify statewide and locality, school division, college and university resource needs to "ensure that we are doing everything humanly possible to keep our children, young people and educators safe while they are in the classroom."

 "Just as public safety is the bedrock responsibility of government, the safety of our young people must continue to be the top priority in our schools and our campuses," McDonnell said in a statement.

In Fairfax County, there are regular safety and lockdown drills, and there was increased security at all schools Monday.

With the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in mind, McDonnell has requested that Secretary of Education Laura Fornash and Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker work together in evaluating recent safety audits of schools. 

The governor also has established of a task force to review school safety, share best practices and look at challenges. This task force will also give legislative and budget proposals to the McDonnell, according to the statement. More details on the task force will be released next week.

The governor also announced the creation of a new position—a school and campus safety coordinator, which was originally an idea from the Governor's Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families impacted by this tragedy, and to the teachers, first responders, and all others touched by the events of last Friday," Gov. McDonnell said . "Unfortunately, Virginians have our own painful memories of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007. Those memories will never fade, and our mourning of those losses continues."

"As a father, I cannot imagine the grief experienced by those in Newtown, Connecticut, as they mourn the loss of their innocent children. ... As a sibling of a career teacher, the recollections of the heroism demonstrated by Sandy Hook Elementary School educators are a stark reminder to me that school personnel must be given all possible training, tools and resources to protect the children in their care."

The governor also told reporters he thought it was too soon to talk about changes to gun policy.

"It's just a couple of days after this horrific, unfathomable tragedy with so many little 6-year-old kids gunned down," he said. "I still can't quite come to terms with it. For me it was too early to start reacting or overreacting with what the right politices might be. There will be time to reflect on that over next 30 days."

Joe Brenchick December 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM
The Second Amendment isn't about hunting, it's about a check on government. Those who claim citizens don't need certain types or styles of weapons ignore this fact and try to over simplify the problem with a quick fix knee jerk reaction without considering the unintended consequences. Our society is filled with wolves, sheep and sheepdogs. For a better understanding of this: http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/29/on-sheep-wolves-and-sheepdogs I've been a sheepdog all of my adult life and until the world is populated by angels, there will always be a need for sheepdogs.
Fran Lovaas December 19, 2012 at 12:07 PM
You sir, need help!
Barbara Glakas December 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I agree, to an extent, with what Joe B. said in his first sentence, that the 2nd Amendment was about – at least in part -- a check on government. If you read the Federalist Papers you can see when our government was first being formed that our founders were aware of other new European despotic rulers taking over their countries by force, so they thought having an armed citizenry would help discourage that in our new country. We also did not have a big national army at the time, so they thought having an armed citizenry could be any easy way for each state to quickly form militias so that an army could quickly be formed to protect the country from outside invaders. Lastly, those same state militias were thought to also help each state protect themselves from other invading states. Obviously, times have changed. We no longer have to worry about Georgia invading New Jersey. And we have a national government that – as the founders envisioned and hoped for – is ruled by reason, not by force. And George Washington did not have automatic weapons in 1775. …. (continued)….
Barbara Glakas December 19, 2012 at 12:59 PM
…. (continued) …..I suppose peoples’ interpretation of the Constitution varies, depending on whether one is a strict constructionist or whether one believes it is a “living document,” whereby the founders wrote it in broad and flexible terms to allow it to evolve with the times. Consider what Jefferson once said: “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” We can institute reasonable gun control laws while still respecting the 2nd amendment.
Carol Lewis December 19, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Perhaps, Joe Brenchick, but hunting isn't about assault weapons either. The amendment was written at a time when we were still breaking away from Britain. I just don't see the need for those weapons or the rounds of ammunition.

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