Warde, Ludlowe receive state grants for safety improvements

Sen. Hwang, who voted in favor of the package, at work on the Education Committee.

Sen. Hwang, who voted in favor of the package, at work on the Education Committee.

Contributed photo

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont signed a school construction package on Wednesday that includes grants for increasing safety at both of Fairfield’s high schools.

The package awards $31,133 to Ludlowe and $56,422 to Warde to aid construction recommended by the town’s recent school security and safety assessment, a collaboration between the Board of Education and the Fairfield Police Department’s School Safety Unit. For security purposes, the report and details of the upcoming construction are confidential.

According to State Sen. Tony Hwang, most of Fairfield’s elementary and middle schools have gone through similar assessments and have also had safety improvement projects initiated.

This construction package was made possible by a 2014 act passed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. In addition to addressing gun control and mental health in Connecticut, the statute added funding to help local municipalities complete construction projects to improve school safety.

Fairfield’s state representatives Brenda Kupchick, Cristin McCarthy Vahey and Laura Devlin all voted for the package, as well as Hwang, who represents Connecticut’s 28th District.

“I am proud to cast this vote for construction costs to improve school security and safety in both Fairfield high schools,” Hwang said. “It is a continuation of maintaining school infrastructure to ensure our students, faculty, administration and staff are protected while they focus on the important task of learning in our schools.”

Hwang added that both projects are “shovel ready,” meaning that they’ve already been approved by the state’s Department of Administrative Services.

This governmental support of school security measures comes in the context of renewed political focus on the matter. JT Lewis, the 19-year-old brother of a Sandy Hook shooting victim, announced that he will challenge Hwang for his seat in the 2020 election.

In a video posted to Twitter announcing his candidacy, Lewis discussed his school safety advocacy work. He said that he and his mother called Hwang, who was then a state representative, after the 2012 shooting, but they never heard back.

“The little boy who just wanted someone to hear his mom’s call for help is grown up,” Lewis said in the video.

Lewis has been a vocal advocate for increased school security measures, notably attending a panel with President Trump last year that recommended placing armed guards in schools, the Washington Post reports.