From Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas:
Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that Bridgeport Public Schools will receive $1,035,375 to enhance school safety as part of the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act. The funds will be used to build on Bridgeport’s commitment to keeping students and teachers safe in every school.
“Our foremost responsibility is providing a safe learning environment for students and teachers,” said Superintendent Paul Vallas. “The state’s grant, and the city’s generous match, will help us build on our success in ensuring that every school in the city is able to serve as a sanctuary for teaching and learning. Our substantially lower arrest and suspension rates over the past year show that we are moving in the right direction, and we will continue our work in transforming school culture with today’s funding.”
The grant will allow 23 schools to address their security needs by implementing additional security measures. These include: retrofitting classroom and exterior doors to meet increased security standards; installing panic buttons; installing video access control that provides a video intercom between external doors and the school office for access to school; and installing additional indoor and outdoor cameras.
The grant was a product of collaboration between the Superintendent’s Office, the school security office, and the City of Bridgeport Facilities Department. The City of Bridgeport will additionally match the state funds in the amount of $288,455. BPS’s safety efforts over the past two years have included a series of partnerships with the City and the school security department such as the launch of the Safe Corridors program and the creation of the Security Command Post. The Command Post is equipped with a wall of nine monitors that show live feed from cameras in locations of potential concern around and in schools. Today’s state grant will allow the district to increase the number of schools that can be equipped with security cameras.
“The safety and well-being of our children is the utmost priority of my administration. We have already taken several steps to improve school security to ensure Bridgeport students feel safe both inside the classroom and on their way to school,” said Mayor Finch. “Thanks to Governor Malloy, we will be able to widen our security efforts to provide our students, teachers and staff with the safe, secure schools they deserve.”
Over the past year, the security initiatives have already resulted in increased student safety in learning environments. Between the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years, the rate of high school out-of-school suspensions decreased 15.24% and the in-school suspension rates dropped 2.5%. The number of arrests also demonstrated an accelerated downward trend, decreasing to 61 arrests from 101 arrests.