Study commission on school safety protocols to begin work next week
STATE HOUSE – Special Legislative Study Commission to Evaluate and Provide Recommendations on Mandated Safety Protocols for Rhode Island Schools is scheduled to hold its first meeting Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m. in the House Lounge on the second floor of the State House.
The meeting will be televised live by Capitol Television on Cox Communications Channels 15 and 61 for high definition; i3Broadband (formerly Full Channel) on Channel 15; and Verizon on Channel 34. Livestreaming sill be available at https://www.rilegislature.gov/CapTV/Pages/default.aspx.
The commission was created by legislation (2023-H 6422) sponsored this session by Rep. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence), a longtime advocate for firearm safety. Its purpose is to study school lockdowns and fire drills, and the associated mental health impacts on students. The commission will also study protocols and impacts of actual lockdown events, to include swatting events like those which recently occurred in school districts across the state. The commission will bring together 20 experts and stakeholders from across the state to answer complex questions such as whether and when students should be encouraged to evacuate during lockdown events, whether advanced notice should be provided to students and/or parents prior to a lockdown drill and whether the frequency of drills should be changed.
“As parents, we know these lockdowns are having an impact on our students’ mental health,” said Representative Boylan. “With this commission, we will finally get our arms around what’s going on and what we can be doing better.”
The commission includes the following appointees:
- Representative Boylan
- Rep. Joseph McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston)
- Rep. Jennifer A. Stewart (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket)
- Andy Andrade, Rhode Island Department of Education
- Francis J. Flynn, Rhode Island Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers
- Sherrie Monaco, Rhode Island Association of School Psychologists
- Chief Scott Kettelle, Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs, Inc.
- Katelyn Medeiros, Esq., Office of the Rhode Island Child Advocate
- Millie Piper, Rhode Island high school student (representing a suburban school district)
- Chief Kevin M. Lynch, Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association
- Corporal Nicholas Rivello, Rhode Island State Police
- Michael Hassell, Rhode Island Association of School Principals
Additional members are expected to be confirmed in the coming days.
The agenda for this meeting includes elections of leaders and introductions of members. No public testimony will be taken at this meeting.