RI state rep to introduce proposals to enhance security, add resource officers to schools

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A state lawmaker is introducing two new pieces of legislation aimed at preventing violence in Rhode Island schools.

Representative Gregg Amore, who is also a history teacher at East Providence High School and the school’s athletic director, is calling for increased school security following a mass shooting at a Florida school that left  17 dead.

Amore said his proposal includes having one school resource officer in every public school in Rhode Island, and two of them if the school’s student body is more than 1,200.

“When a parent drops their child off at school or puts them on the bus, their assumption is they are coming home. All too often we have seen that too many students in America don’t come home. This is an attempt to try to rectify that,” Amore said.

Amore said having a school resource officer would be beneficial in ensuring everyone is safe.

“Not solely because he is armed in the hallways, but because he has the pulse of the school community,” Amore added. “He understands when something is amiss.”

For his second proposal, Amore wants to create a reimbursement for schools to install enhanced security systems.

“It would promote a reimbursement for a community that is either refurbishing or building to put in the best security possible for those schools,” Amore said.

The bills are currently being drafted, and Amore said they should be introduced by the end of next week.

The Rhode Island Association of School Principals’ executive director, Don Rebello, said he personally supports Amore’s proposal.

“We should now vigorously work to couple this action with an increased and effective level of gun control, along with a dynamic cultural shift regarding how some of our local and national leaders interpret Second Amendment rights,” he said in a statement.

In a statement, the Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said they will review Amore’s legislation as it goes through the process:

“Our superintendents, principals, teachers, and law enforcement officers wake up every day prepared to keep our children safe, from the time students leave their families in the morning until they return home at the end of the day. We will review Representative Amore’s legislation and, as it goes through the legislative process, offer our support and guidance to the schools and districts charged with its implementation.”