WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 27, 2013
Two months have passed since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Families across America continue to grieve with the Newtown community. The sorrow we felt on that day remains fresh in our minds and hearts.
No one in this room needs me to recount what happened on December 14. Nor do you need a description of what happened in Paducah, Kentucky; Littleton, Colorado; or Blacksburg, Virginia. We saw the news coverage, we read the stories, we watched the interviews.
While the initial shock may have begun to subside, the questions remain. Like many of you, I am angry that such a terrible act hasn’t come with an explanation. Without such answers, how can we work with states and schools to develop a solution that will help us move forward? How can we be confident something like this can never happen again?
The purpose of today’s hearing is not to assign blame. This isn’t about us. It isn’t about a press release or a bill introduction or a media opportunity. This is about students. Teachers. Families. Communities. This hearing is about learning what goes into protecting our schools and preventing violence. This is about ways we can work together to help students feel safe.
Today’s hearing stems from a heartbreaking event. But in order to have a productive conversation, we must try to focus on matters under this committee’s jurisdiction. Members on both sides of the aisle have offered ideas about how to protect students in the classroom. The Obama administration has also put forth a series of proposals. And our witnesses will share their experiences with policies and programs intended to secure our schools.
I propose we come together, just as families are in every school district and community nationwide, to have a comprehensive discussion on school safety – one that explores policy ideas and state and local actions, and will inform how we move forward.
I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to our witnesses for joining us today. We have assembled a panel that will offer valuable insight and help us understand what state and local school leaders go through as they work to keep schools safe. I will now recognize my distinguished colleague George Miller, the senior Democratic member of the committee, for his opening remarks.
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