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[December 17, 2012]
McDonnell to order schools to review safety plans
RICHMOND, Dec 17, 2012 (The Virginian-Pilot - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In the wake of last week's deadly school shooting in Connecticut, Gov. Bob McDonnell will direct officials in local school divisions across the state to review their safety plans and make sure they are being followed.
Speaking after he presented his budget amendments to the legislature this morning, the governor told reporters about the coming executive order on school safety.
That effort will be overseen by McDonnell's secretaries of Public Safety and Education.
The charge for local schools is "to look at all the things . . . they need to do better, that they need to do right," get them implemented and provide funding, if necessary, to put those procedures in place.
"I'm going to do everything, certainly that I can, to make sure that we would never have an event like that happen in a Virginia K-12 system," McDonnell said, alluding to Friday's mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school that left 26 dead, 20 of them children.
The governor called it a "horrific, really unfathomable tragedy," sharing that he and his wife, First Lady Maureen McDonnell, sat in grief, sobbing as they watched television coverage of the shooting Friday.
"Having five children of our own, we just can not imagine the evil and horror that occurred in that classroom," he said.
McDonnell declined to say whether the Connecticut shooting should compel Virginia lawmakers to toughen state guns laws like requiring background checks before private gun sales can be transacted.
"For me it's way too early to start reacting, or overreacting, with what the right policies might be," he said. "I think there will be a time to reflect on that, maybe over the next 30 days." Earlier this year, McDonnell supported the successful effort to repeal a Virginia law that limited many handgun buyers to one purchase per month.
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