Candidates discuss school safety after shooting near school
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Gubernatorial candidates outlined what they would do to ensure schools are safe the day after a student was fatally shot outside a Rhode Island high school,
A 15-year-old student was shot and killed Wednesday outside the Providence Career and Technical Academy. Authorities say the victim, William Parsons, was a student at nearby Central High School and an innocent bystander who wasn’t involved in the fight that led to the shooting.
When asked Thursday for their positions on school safety, Democrats talked about banning guns in schools, while Republicans and an independent candidate focused on enhancing security.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo took executive action last week to ban guns in schools, except for those carried by police. She said Thursday she’d push for an assault weapons ban in all of Rhode Island if she’s elected to a second term, and she urged schools earlier this month to use part of a $10.5 million school construction fund to step up security.
“Guns don’t belong in or around schools,” Raimondo said in a statement.
Police said the shooting occurred during an altercation between two young men. Officials believe the gun was never in a school.
Democratic challenger Matt Brown also supports banning guns in schools and banning assault weapons in the entire state. He said he’d work with the legislature and communities to pass reform measures that would also include regulating junk guns, banning large-capacity ammunition magazines, and requiring firearm registration.
Republican Allan Fung said he supports having a school resource officer in every school. Fung supported a legislative proposal that would’ve mandated school resource officers funded by both the state and municipalities. After the proposal failed, his campaign said Thursday he’s working on a plan to fund the proposal.
“We all know we must do better and create a safer capital city and safer Rhode Island,” Fung said in a statement.
Republican Patricia Morgan said she’d work to increase funding for school security upgrades like bulletproof glass, security vestibules and training for teachers. Morgan, a former teacher, said the state could pay for upgrades using money from a settlement with Google.
“I’ve talked with high school kids this year and many of them are really apprehensive about their safety when they’re in school,” she said. “They want to know that when they’re inside that building, nobody is going to come in and hurt them, so I am going to find the money.”
Republican Giovanni Feroce supports additional school safety training and addressing mental health issues that can lead to gun violence. He has criticized Raimondo’s ban on guns in schools as an attack on the Second Amendment and says the focus should be on prevention.
Independent Joe Trillo released a 10-point plan Thursday that includes installing metal detectors, panic buttons and locks on all school doors. He proposed issuing a special permit for school faculty who want to carry a gun, after extensive training.