State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) has been named co-chairman of the enhanced school security working group, part of the special bipartisan task force on gun violence prevention and children's safety convened by the leaders of the House and Senate. Boucher, as ranking member on the Education and Higher Education committees will oversee the drafting of policy as part of the working group focused on enhanced school security.

"I am honored to be chosen as one of the leaders of the legislative committee working on this task force," Boucher said. "As parents and grandparents, as well as legislators, we want to do all that we can to assure the people of Newtown and the state of Connecticut that we will do our job in a thoughtful way. Our schools are an extension of our homes and teachers are like family. The Newtown tragedy has shaken our belief that our children will be safe in their classrooms. We look forward to helping restore parents' confidence that our schools are a safe haven."

Democratic and Republican legislative leaders joined this week to announce the creation of the special bipartisan task force. The group, formed in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, will conduct a review of current law and make recommendations on a range of potential legislation to prevent gun violence, enhance school security and ensure the availability of mental health services in Connecticut.

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"I look forward to working together with the leadership on both sides of the aisle on this very important public policy," she said. "As a former member of local and state boards of education, I understand how important it is to involve and confer with educators, parents and first responders to achieve the best public policy."

The task force will provide recommendations to Senate and House leadership with the goal of producing a bipartisan emergency certified bill in late February.

The first full meeting of the task force was held on Friday, Jan. 18 in the legislative office building in Hartford.

It was also announced that there will be a series of public hearings:

School safety on Jan. 25 at 9:30 a.m. in room 2C at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford;

Gun safety on Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. in room 2C at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford;

Mental health issues Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. in room 2C at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford;

A fourth public hearing will be held by the full task force at Newtown High School on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m.

Sen. Boucher can be reached at or by calling 1-800- 842 1421.