Malloy's Sandy Hook Commission Finding Its Feet | Connecticut Public Radio

Malloy's Sandy Hook Commission Finding Its Feet

Feb 22, 2013

The superintendent of schools for Aurora, Colorado spoke to Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission today/Friday. Aurora was the scene of a mass shooting last July. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Malloy's task force is meeting to come up with policy recommendations after the Newtown shootings.

As part of that, they heard from John Barry -- he runs the Aurora, Colorado public schools. He spoke via Skype, and said that preparation before an event happens is the most important thing a school district can do. That means live drills with hundreds of people and meetings and other simulations with stakeholders -- police, fire department, mental health units, crisis recovery teams.

"You establish these relationships so, in the event of a real crisis, then you have that to fall back on. If you're waiting to establish those kinds of connectivities after a crisis, then I think you're going to be well behind the eight ball." The commission met for the better part of the day and discussed trauma services and school crises. But as they face a March deadline from Malloy, it also became clear that some on the commission are struggling to understand their job.

Commission member Adrienne Bentman asked representatives of the governor's office whether the panel would still be meeting after the middle of March. "Even an, 'I don't know,' would be more helpful than kind of a -- we're living in a kind of a blank space, and even 'I don't know, but we're considering the following,' would be more helpful than the blank space that I feel that we're currently living in."

Here's the response she eventually got from fellow commission member Bernard Sullivan. "He wants a good report and he wants the best thoughts of all of these minds sitting at the table. He didn't put us here just to give him something quick and dirty. He wants something thoughtful, meaningful that he can work with." Whether he'll get that in time to make new laws this session is the open question.