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Sandy Hook Commission Sends School Safety Report to Governor

Originally posted on Newton Patch

Gov. Dannel Malloy said Monday he had received an interim report from the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, the group he convened in January to explore legislative responded to the 12/14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“The interim report from the commission represents another step in identifying the policies and laws that will make our children and, indeed, our entire state safer,” said Malloy. “The commission’s recommendations on school safety are especially worthy of consideration this session as we negotiate the biennial budget, and I look forward to working with legislative leaders to implement such measures.”

Malloy has proposed a similar set of what he says are “strong, common-sense measures,” including universal background checks, requirements on storing guns, restrictions on magazine size and a ban on the “sale or purchase” of the kinds of weapons used in the Sandy Hook shooting, weapons capable of firing more than 10 rounds without reloading.

Malloy said he would not go as far as to suggest a ban on possession of such weapons, which members of the commission recommended in the report.

“The Commission takes seriously the rights afforded under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, but balances those rights against the language of the Preambleto the Constitution, which includes assurances of ‘domestic tranquility’ and the obligation to ‘promote the general welfare’,” the report said in justifying the call, which would also ban armor-piercing bullets.

The commission acknowledged some sporting events use high-capacity magazines and weapons, but said “[t]he spirit of sportsmanshipcan be maintained with lower capacity magazines.”

“While I appreciate their hard work, I want to be very clear on one point–I do not support, and will not advocate for, the confiscation of firearms by law abiding citizens,” said Malloy in a statement last week.

In Monday’s statement, he added, “[T]heir views, along with the views of the staunchest defenders of the Second Amendment, have a place in this conversation.”

Chaired by Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, the commission has heard nearly 40 hours of testimony from experts in the fields of school safety and gun violence since its inception in January. In its next meeting, scheduled for Friday, it will hear from mental health experts.

New York Governor Signs Strict Measure Fighting Cyber Bullying in Schools

Originally posted on Huffington Post in 2012

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York teachers who learn that a student has been bullied online will be required to report the incident to school administrators within one day, under a law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday.

The measure, which goes into effect on July 1, 2013, is part of an effort to crack down on cyber bullying through emails, text messaging and social networks.

“We must do all we can to ensure that every child in New York State feels safe in the classroom, and this new law will help our schools create an environment that is conducive to educational success,” Cuomo said in a written statement.

The law, which stops short of making cyber bullying a crime, puts in place a number of steps designed to help prevent it inside and outside schools.

School employees who witness or learn of online harassment must notify the school’s administration within one school day, and must file a written report within another two days.

The law also requires teachers be trained on identifying and mitigating bullying incidents.

“Students today live in a cyber-world, it’s how most choose to communicate. It’s also how many are cyberbullied – whether through messaging, emails or social networking sites, it’s difficult for victims to escape the 24/7 exposure to threats, bullying or discrimination,” New York Senator Stephen Saland said in a statement.

Last year, New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein introduced a different cyber-bullying bill that would have added “harassment through electronic communication” to the crime of “stalking in the third degree.”

That bill was killed in the New York Assembly.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, every state but Montana has a law in place to prevent bullying. Forty-two states’ laws include electronic harassment, and 14 include cyber-bullying.