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Vermont Lawmakers Review School Safety

Picture of a Vermont School Bus
Jared C. Benedict/Wikimedia Commons

Vermont lawmakers are turning their attention to school safety measures following the approval of a package of gun ownership restrictions that were passed in the aftermath of what officials called a near-miss school shooting in Fair Haven earlier this year.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing a proposal to allow retired police officers to work as armed school resource officers.

WCAX-TV reports Democratic Chairman Senator Dick Sears says the plan could especially benefit rural schools where police are often far away.

However Amy Fowler, deputy secretary of the state Agency of Education, said national studies have found schools with resource officers suspend and expel minority and low-income students at higher rates. She said she thinks school resource officers need more police training.

The House has approved $5 million in funding as part of the capital budget to help improve school security. The measure requires Senate approval.

Sears predicted the bill will proceed, but he's not sure what changes will be made to the proposal.

The Legislature was prompted to act after a teenager was charged with planning a shooting at the Fair Haven Union High School.

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