WILTON, Conn. – Republican State Rep. Thomas O’Dea, who represents Wilton and New Canaan, says he's against a proposal that would reduce the size of drug-free zones at schools and day care centers.
Drug-free zones currently extend 1,500 feet beyond the perimeter of a school or licensed day care center, and are in place all day. The proposal, House Bill 6511, would shrink drug-free zones to 200 feet beyond the perimeter of a school or licensed day care facility, and would apply only during official hours, O’Dea said.
“If we suddenly apply time limits to drug-free zones, are we sending a message that schools are a place for learning one moment, but after the final bell rings it becomes a new market for drug dealers?” O’Dea said in a statement. “Our schools and day cares are where we send our children to learn and grow. Parents and children alike should see them as safe havens.”
The proposal, O’Dea said, differentiates between regular school hours, after-hour school-sponsored activities, and non school-sponsored times of the day. With regard to day cares, the drug-free perimeter would be in place during the center’s operating hours.
“The legislature should not distinguish between class hours, a homecoming dance, and when the first school bus drops off children before classes start, and there should be no differentiation,” said O’Dea.
“Selling or possessing drugs is illegal. When drugs are sold at or near public schools, we have allowed them to become dangerous environments,” he added. “Tough drug-free zones send a message to criminals that we are serious about our children. They are not a marketplace. School is a place for them to learn and grow.”