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Principals' Union: We Need National School Safety Task Force

In the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., the American Federation of School Administrators is calling for a national task force specifically on school safety.

The task force, the goals of which were outlined in a press release dated Dec. 18, would focus on standards for establishing best practices in school safety, for implementing those best practices, and for determining what resources are needed to establish them.

The White House on Wednesday announced a task force focused on gun control, mental health, and other policies that might affect events like last week's. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will sit on the interagency panel. But the principals' group is calling for a separate task force focused just on school safety.

"[The White House panel] will have a much broader array of issues to grapple with," said AFSA spokesman Nicholas Spina in an email. "The issue of school safety is too important to get lost in this broader discussion or bogged down in politics."

Spina said the school safety panel ideally should be focused comprised of education professionals: principals, school leaders, teachers, and school safety experts.

Virginia's governor, Bob McDonnell, announced new school safety task forces on Monday, and some districts have undertaken similar efforts on their own.

The National Association of States Attorneys General formed a task force in 2007, after the shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and put out a report on its findings on school violence.

If you're looking for background on state laws related to school safety, the Education Commission of the States had gathered information here.

We reported yesterday on some of school security experts' response to Newtown and about the federal response so far. You can find complete coverage of Newtown compiled here.

Want to keep up with school district and leadership news? Follow @district_doss on Twitter.

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