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Enfield Civic Alliance Seeks Referendum on School Guards

The committee is hoping to force a referendum by obtaining enough signatures on a petition.

Written by John Foxx

A non-partisan group of Enfield citizens has launched a petition drive to bring the question of armed guards in schools to a referendum vote this fall.

The Enfield Civic Alliance announced this goal as a way to foster constructive public discussion of school security, educational quality and appropriate citizen engagement in critical decisions affecting quality of life in the community.

Enfield was one of the first Connecticut communities to respond to the Sandy Hook tragedy by establishing positions for armed security personnel in its public schools. The plan was developed by local officials, and endorsed by the Board of Education in its March 25 meeting, one night before a public comment session that had been scheduled by town government on the issue.

By provision of the Town Charter, any petition bearing notarized signatures of at least 10% of the town’s eligible voters (as of the last election) triggers a referendum allowing the voters to decide the outcome of the issue at hand in any election held within ninety days.

According to founding member Leena Kronenwetter, “We are not all opposed to the decision itself. Our views vary. However, when the community faces this kind of watershed decision, it cuts to our values and the kind of community we want Enfield to be. Many of us spoke out urging further deliberation and exploration of alternatives, yet the decision was made without a clear consensus in the community.”

The Enfield Civic Alliance is an informal network of citizens, including many parents, who believe the town needs a higher level of deliberative democracy to deal with its challenges, and that the debates over education are an opportunity to raise standards for civic process as well as to devise less risky approaches to safety in the schools. In the words of founding member Kathryn McGann, “This is not an ordinary administrative decision. While we respect the concern of the Council and Board of Education, and take their deliberations seriously, there is no substitute for the citizens themselves wrestling with the decision and taking ownership of the outcome. Our voices deserve to be heard.”
Melissa Everett June 20, 2013 at 03:22 PM
I saw this mentioned on the Facebook page for Enfield Needs Positive Change and Results. Maybe somebody up there knows where there will be petitions to sign.
Lynn Kostek June 20, 2013 at 06:15 PM
It is also on Enfield Needs Change page on Facebook.
Bill Mcnulty June 21, 2013 at 08:56 AM
Where can this petition be signed?

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