N.J. making school safety a top priority, governor says

Gov. Phil Murphy and members of his administration discuss steps New Jersey will take in response to the mass killing in Florida. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Gov. Phil Murphy and members of his administration discuss steps New Jersey will take in response to the mass killing in Florida. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

A week after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said his administration is making school safety a top priority.

The state must strengthen prevention efforts to protect students, said Homeland Security Director Jared Maples on Tuesday.

“We will continue to prioritize the identification of suspicious activity, mental health indicators, and ensure that there is a clear path for reporting and addressing issues before an incident occurs,” Maples said. “We will expand innovative efforts such as suspicious activity-reporting training for school bus drivers and educators.”

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said his office will review New Jersey’s school-safety directives. School-based community policing must be part of the prevention efforts, he said.

“I think it’s imperative that our local law enforcement officers engage with their school communities so that they can not only earn the trust of students and educators who can relate to them their specific concerns, but also so they can be on the ground and see first hand the threats to particular schools,” he said.

Murphy, who is pushing for a coordinated multi-state effort to control the flow of illegal guns, said he’ll work with legislative leaders to enact more gun-safety legislation.

“I also support common-sense measures to ensure that individuals determined by a mental health professional to be a threat to themselves or others do not have access to guns,” he said. “We must make this a law, and together we will.”

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