Prompted by the Newtown school massacre, 169 public school buildings in 36 communities will receive a combined $5 million in funding to improve school safety.
The money will be used for items such as bullet-proof glass, panic alarms, surveillance cameras, buzzer and card-entry systems, and electric locks.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the grants Wednesday, saying that the money will go to schools all across the state from Greenwich to Killingly. The $5 million is the first round of a program that will eventually reach $21 million.
Overall, the state received 111 applications in 604 school buildings, officials said.
The largest number of improvements will be in Bridgeport, where 23 schools will be upgraded. The total includes 17 in East Hartford, 14 in Norwalk, 9 in Enfield, and one in Greenwich.
Citing an exemption under the state’s Freedom of Information laws, officials did not release the names of the individuals schools so that potential perpetrators would not know which schools are vulnerable. But some of the security work might have already been completed because the $5 million includes reimbursements for previous work, along with amounts for future work.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, “Governor Malloy and the State of Connecticut are to be commended for this significant investment in school security—a critical component of the state’s bipartisan, common sense gun violence legislation. In the months since the horrific tragedy in Sandy Hook, I have visited schools across the state, listening to educators, law enforcement and students about their school safety needs, and learning how districts have managed to make important upgrades with limited funding. We can and must do more to ensure our schools are as safe as they can be, but that burden cannot rest solely with our state and local districts. The federal government has an obligation to act, which is why I have co-sponsored the Schools and Campus Safety Enhancement Act to provide $40 million in annual grants over the next decade for safety-related capital improvements, training and security assessments.”
Blumenthal continued, “While the bill received broad bipartisan support, progress has been stalled by a minority in Congress unwilling to listen to the common sense needs and wishes of the American public. It is time for Congress to learn from the bipartisan successes of Connecticut and take action on comprehensive gun violence reform now.”