AZ's Ed. Superintendent Says Parents Should Ensure Schools are Prepared for Violence

Dec 14, 2012

The state's top education official said this afternoon it's up to parents -- and not his agency -- to ensure that local school personnel have the training they need to prevent -- or at least deal with -- shootings like the one in Connecticut.

Education Superintendent John Huppenthal explained Friday the training available -- but not mandated -- for public schools to deal with threats of violence like the incident in Connecticut.
Credit Howard Fischer / Capitol Media Services

John Huppenthal said the state Department of Education offers state of the art training in threat assessment and violence prevention. But aides had no number of how many of the state's more than 200 districts have gone through that training. Huppenthal said, though, the shooting presents an opportunity for parents.

"Well, I think in response to this it would be appropriate for them to ask their school officials, 'Have you gone through the training? Do you have a great relationship with your local police department? Have you undergone saying, OK, what's your response time. Do you know, do you have everybody have the numbers down. That type of thing," Huppenthal said.

But he sidestepped the question of whether such training should be mandatory.

"Those kind of things can be an ongoing discussion as a part of the legislative session," he said. "We would strongly encourage principals and superintendents to make sure that their staff at the schools are trained in these regards."

And Huppenthal who voted as a legislator to allow guns on college campuses would not say what he thinks about letting public school staff be armed, saying that question is inappropriate at this time.