Mayor Joseph P. Ganim
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2018
For More Information:
Dalmarys Matos (203) 576-7201
Mayor Ganim, City of Bridgeport Hosts Regional Collaboration School Safety Forum
Leadership from Fairfield, Trumbull and Stratford Agree an ‘Army of Teachers’ is not an Appropriate Solution
Bridgeport, CT – Mayor Ganim this week joined municipal, law enforcement and education leadership from neighboring towns to collaborate on security practices to aid in school safety and evoke change in the state level. Those in attendance included Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau, Trumbull First Selectwoman Vicki Tesoro, Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez, Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara, Trumbull Police Chief Michael Lombardo, Bridgeport Superintendent Aresta Johnson, Stratford Superintendent Janet Robinson, State Senator Tony Hwang and representatives from Senator Richard Blumenthal’s Office and Congressman Jim Himes’ Office.
The Regional Collaboration School Safety Forum allowed our local leaders, superintendents, police chiefs and lawmakers to exchange concerns, challenges and solutions as it relates to keeping our students safe, supporting our schools, and being better prepared as a community.
“This Regional Collaborative is committed to continuing dialogue from town to town,” said Mayor Ganim. “We are sharing best practices to not only serve our own residents but to make our schools safer statewide. Guns in the hands of teachers is not smart. More guns mean more deaths. Connecticut is a leader on Common Sense Gun Laws, we need to continue to be a united voice, and support our state and federal legislators to be diligent when it comes to protecting our children.”
Fairfield First Selectman Tetreau said, “We realize that all three levels of government have to work together. One of the struggles in Connecticut is that we have 169 towns. We shouldn’t have 169 different approaches for school security. We have an obligation to keep our kids safe and I think it’s great that the towns and cities are working together to see what we can do collectively.”
Trumbull First Selectwoman Tesoro said, “I want to thank Mayor Ganim for bringing all of us together. Today was a great opportunity for our communities to come together to discuss safety and security for all our children and to share best practices and discuss next steps.”
Bridgeport Police Chief Perez said, “The safety of our children has always been our top priority. The climate of this country is requiring us law enforcement agencies to join forces and act.”
Fairfield Police Chief MacNamara said, “Today was a great collaborative effort to learn from what other departments are doing and what other communities are doing. I think it is a first step in really what will turn out to be a progressive approach to school safety in our region.”
Bridgeport Superintendent Johnson said, “Today was extremely collaborative. In terms of next steps, the planning and continuing the conversation in other districts and having this group around the table to share best practices is the right direction to go in.”
Stratford Superintendent Robinson said, “The critical thing is we are all concerned about the exact same thing which is the safety of our children. And it doesn’t make any difference what community you’re from, we can all share and benefit from what one another is doing.”
Local leadership and lawmakers also voiced support for the Common Sense Gun Laws being considered on a state and national level. These laws address the elimination of bump stocks, a device that turns a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic military style weapon. This device was used to spray up to 800 rounds per minute and massacre innocent people at a country concert in Las Vegas. And the selling of ghost guns or untraceable guns that are being sold online. Lastly, the regional collaborative collectively agreed that an ‘army of teachers’ is not an appropriate solution to the recent gun violence the nation has witnessed.
State Senator Tony Hwang said, “In the Connecticut general assembly, we have bipartisan support in recognizing that protecting our schools is paramount. It really is a culmination of so many different people working together. We cannot go into silos. We have to collaborate, communicate, and work with each other from cities to suburbs to rural areas.”
Long term solutions brought forth were an increased attention to mental health care especially within our schools and unified school safety measures across the state.