Study group will look at security and mental health issues when studying safety in schools

Monday, January 7, 2013 - 7:10pm

With the Newtown shootings fresh in their minds a governmental study group has been formed to look at the safety of schools in our state.

"After sandy hook this is obviously top priority for us, for the state and the governor," said James LeBlanc, a chair on the committte and Secretary of Public Safety and Corrections.

Secretary James LeBlanc is co-chairing the board with State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson. LeBlanc said the board will be looking closely at the optimum security in schools, evacuation plans, and most of all preventing another tragedy like the one in Newtown.

"My thoughts on responding is, when you have to respond, it's too late. And so we're really going to be concentrating on the prevention side of security for our schools," LeBlanc said.

Louisiana parents have mixed feelings though, some say the more security the safer the children will be, others believe the root of the problem lies elsewhere.

"Security would be fine, but first they need to find out what are the issues of this person? Because you can have security guards all over, that's not going to stop mental health issues," Althea Spriggs, a mother of two, explained.

LeBlanc said mental health issues will be one of the big items to study on the agenda. The team is also asking police and fire chiefs as well as sheriff's to give them input, to form a better idea of what's needed to keep Louisiana’s students safe.

"Any time you involve this many agencies and this many different types of functions it's going to be different facets. And then mainly for me in corrections it would be to the mental health side," LeBlanc explained.

The study group is sending out letters to law enforcement leaders across the state and expect input within the month. LeBlanc said they will be ready to present their findings to the legislature by the start of the next session in April.
 

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