Newspaper article The Canadian Press

McGuinty Wants 'Locked Door' Policy at All Elementary Schools by Next Fall

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

McGuinty Wants 'Locked Door' Policy at All Elementary Schools by Next Fall

Article excerpt

Locked door policy for all elementary schools

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TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty announced Thursday there would be a "locked door" policy at all 4,000 elementary schools in Ontario by next September in reaction to last week's shooting rampage that left 26 dead at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

"In the aftermath of that tragic event that unfolded in the U.S. I think there's an important question that we need to ask ourselves: are we taking all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of our kids at school," McGuinty said at St. Fidelis Catholic Elementary School in Toronto.

"I think the response to that question requires that we assure parents that all of our elementary schools are locked during the day, that we are controlling access into our elementary schools, so we're going to put a locked door policy in place."

The Opposition said all parents would support initiatives to make schools safer for their kids, but questioned the timing of McGuinty's announcement. The Tories suggested McGuinty was simply trying to change the channel from his government's ongoing fights with public school teachers over wage freeze legislation, which prompted rotating one-day strikes in elementary schools this month.

"I think that the timing, obviously, would lead one to believe that this is a cynical move by Mr. McGuinty," said Progressive Conservative education critic Lisa MacLeod.

"He used his final pre-Christmas media availability to talk about this when I think the issue that is really pressing on Ontario families' minds right now is the labour strife in our schools and whether or not extracurriculars are going to go on and whether or not there are going to be strikes in January."

The New Democrats said the locked door policy was a good first step but said safety was more than just about locking school doors.

"It's about providing adequate supervision, access to mental health services and strong links to communities," said NDP education critic Peter Tabuns. …

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