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Committee Formed To Look At School Safety In Springfield

A ten member special committee has been formed in Springfield Massachusetts to investigate  school safety.  The committee has a broad and open- ended assignment.

Springfield City Council President James Ferrera, who named the members of the Special Committee on School Safety on Monday, said he expects the panel will delve deeply into the subject and issue periodic reports and recommendations.

Ferrera, who announced his intention to form the committee in early January, said it was not motivated by any recent event in the Springfield schools. It is the direct result of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown Connecticut.

The committee is made up of four city councilors, two school committee members, a lieutenant with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, a retired  principal, a youth worker and a parent. The committee has no deadline to finish its work.

City Councilor Kateri Walsh, who is a member of the school safety committee, said she wants to hold hearings across the city and hear not just from security experts, but also from students.

Another member of the special committee, Springfield School Committee member Barbara Gresham said teachers and administrators are doing all they can to create a safe environment for children

The parent on the committee is Melanie Joyner, who has a 17 year old son in the public schools

Springfield, like many communities across the country, examined its school security in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. Mayor Domenic Sarno said he is satisfied the city’s schools are safe, but he said he welcomed another set of eyes on the issue.

Uniformed police officers are deployed in the city’s middle schools and high schools. The entrances to the high schools have metal detectors. There is a buzzer system for entry to elementary schools.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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