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Connecticut's Historic Gun Bill and Its Impact on Connecticut's Local and Regional Boards of Education

April 17, 2013

On April 4, 2013, in response to the great tragedy in Newtown, Governor Dan Malloy signed into law sweeping restrictions on weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines. Connecticut lawmakers debated the measure for 13 hours before both the House and Senate Chambers ultimately passed the measure with bi-partisan support. Among its many sweeping changes, the bill makes numerous changes in the laws governing firearms, establishes a deadly weapon offender registry, and addresses behavioral health, most notably mental health. Among the mental health provisions, a 20 member task force was created to take a clear look at the state’s mental health system. The law also makes numerous conforming changes which have a direct impact on local and regional boards of education which are discussed in greater detail below. A copy of the new law, Public Act 13-3 may be accessed here.

Major Highlights of Public Act 13-3 with Direct Impact on Connecticut School Districts:

  • Effective from the date of passage, the bill requires the state Board of Education to assist local boards of education to include mental health first aid training as part of their in-service workshops for certified staff and other pupil personnel. This requirement is subject to available appropriations and materials. The bill further requires the DMHAS (Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services) Commissioner to administer a mental health first aid training program. Participants must include all district safe school climate coordinators.
  • The bill creates a new council to establish school safety infrastructure standards, known as the School Safety Infrastructure Council.
  • The bill expands the responsibilities of the safe school climate committees established by the legislature in 2011 through its anti-bullying statutes.
  • Beginning with the start of the 2014-2015 school year, local and regional boards of education are required to annually develop and implement a school security and safety plan for each school within their school district based upon standards issued by DESPP (Dept. of Emergency Services and Public Protection). Boards are charged with the task of establishing a school and safety committee at each school to assist in administering said plan.
  • The bill requires DESPP to establish and maintain a registry of school security consultants in the state.
  • The bill authorizes up to $15 million in bonds for a new competitive grant program for school safety measures.


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