Colorado could get school emergency center
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado ” Gov. Bill Ritter wants to establish a state center to help schools prevent emergencies like the Columbine and Platte Canyon shootings, and to respond to them if they do happen.
“We want Colorado to be a leader in preventing violence, not enduring it,” Ritter said Monday as he proposed creating the Colorado School Safety Resource Center.
If lawmakers approve, the center would operate within the Department of Public Safety. A committee would identify pilot sites for individually tailored prevention, response and recovery plans.
Leadership and guidance would come from educators, law enforcement, mental health professionals and researchers, Ritter said. The center would help schools and communities statewide, he said.
Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, said Colorado would join about 20 other states that have adopted some form of a statewide school safety center.
She said some schools already have safety plans and individual exit plans to deal with emergencies, and the state will work with them to provide resources.
“We’re not going to second-guess exit plans,” she said.
Ritter said a meeting attended by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt after the Virginia Tech tragedy in April 2007 provided valuable input into the concept.
“From kindergarten classrooms to college campuses, our students and teachers deserve safe, protected and healthy learning environments,” he said.
“By establishing this School Safety Resource Center, we can bring together experts from multiple disciplines and provide statewide expertise to help prevent school violence and better respond to emergencies of all kinds.”