Rep. McNamara organizes meeting to assess school safety plans


An information meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday to review the adequacy of Rhode Island’s School Safety and Emergency Response plans.

The meeting, organized by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), the chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, will be held at 3 p.m. in Room 135 of the State House and will include leaders of the state’s educational, law enforcement and state emergency planning communities.

In his letter of invitation to the meeting, McNamara, who was the author of the state’s safety and emergency response laws enacted a decade ago (RIPL 16-21-23 and 16-21-24), said in a statement that “with the tremendous changes in both communications technology and improved emergency response protocols, I believe a thorough evaluation of these statutes would be appropriate at this time.”

Among those invited and expected to participate in the meeting are Commissioner of Education Deborah A. Gist; John Desmarais of the RI Police Chiefs Association; Patrick Crowley, director of government relations for the National Education Association of RI; Timothy C. Duffy, executive director of the RI Association of School Committees; Frank Flynn, president of the RI Federation of Teachers and Health Care Professionals; Tim Ryan, executive director of the RI School Superintendents Association; Col. Steven G. O’Donnell, superintendent of the RI State Police; Theresa C. Murray, executive director, and Edward Johnson, deputy director, of the RI Emergency Management Agency, as well as a number of legislators.

McNamara, an educator recently retired from the Pawtucket school system, said that in addition to reviewing existing law, he hopes the participants at the meeting can develop statewide tactical response protocols that may be helpful for school and police departments that have emergency responders from more than one jurisdiction.


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