The 2013 legislative session got underway today. While legislators face a number of major issues, including a looming budget crisis, all thoughts were on the horrific Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown.
During his State of the State Address Governor Dannel P. Malloy fought back tears while speaking about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took 26 innocent lives.
Malloy said we need to “do everything in our power to ensure that Connecticut never again suffers such a loss; that we take real steps to make our kids and our communities safer.”
But he added, “more guns are not the answer. Freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher, and security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom.”
CEA President Sheila Cohen praised the governor for his tough stand to keep guns out of schools. “As educators our duty is to provide safe and secure public schools for every child. We can’t treat our schools like prisons with armed guards on patrol, but we must take action to stop more tragedies like the one in Newtown from occurring.”
Cohen added, “We must all work toward stricter legislation to control the manufacture, distribution, and sale of guns and other deadly weapons.”
The governor praised teachers for putting the interests of their students first. “In the midst of one of the worst days in our history, we also saw the best of our state. Teachers and a therapist sacrificed their lives protecting students,” he said. He added that as children return to classrooms teachers are “providing stability and continuity that has never been so important and so needed.”
While the gun issue will be debated in Connecticut and nationally, the governor formed the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, to develop recommendations to help improve school safety, mental health services, and gun violence prevention in the state.
During his speech, Malloy also addressed the state’s new education reform initiatives and the cooperative efforts from educators to get reform done right.
“Reform could not be complete without supporting our teachers. They have dedicated their lives to our children, and for the first time in a very long time, we’re dedicating new resources for them,” said Malloy.