Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2012, many state policymakers have asked critical questions about school safety and violence prevention. States convened task forces and debated various policy issues to keep students safe during the 2013 legislative sessions. This session focused on evidence-based public policy reform in mental health, education and emergency response as a way to address these critical issues. Agenda topics included mental health issues such as screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and violence prevention in schools.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2012, many state policymakers have asked critical questions about school safety and violence prevention. States convened task forces and debated various policy issues to keep students safe during the 2013 legislative sessions. This session focused on evidence-based public policy reform in mental health, education and emergency response as a way to address these critical issues. Agenda topics included mental health issues such as screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and violence prevention in schools.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut brought renewed attention to the issue of school safety.

The Connecticut legislature entered the 2013 session just three weeks after 20 students and six adults were killed at the Newtown, Conn., school.

“Here we are trying to respond to public demand without having the best of information,” said Connecticut Deputy Speaker Bob Godfrey at Friday’s session, “Policies to Achieve Safer Schools.”

As a former social studies teacher who spent seven years in the classroom, I was fortunate never to face an explosive situation. I was never threatened by a student or parent. I never witnessed a student fight that I wasn’t able to deflate. I suspect that’s more than many teachers with similar experience can say. I feel a sense of relief that I never encountered the kind of personal threats that I have recently read about on an all-too regular basis in news articles.

In the wake of campus violence, such as the mass killings at Virginia Tech in 2007, universities are grappling with how to identify students with mental illness and treat them. Doing so can also involve students' privacy rights.