State Rep. Thomas O’Dea (R-125) opposed a measure considered by the Judiciary Committee this week that would shrink the perimeter drug free zones at schools and day care centers while also limiting them strictly to official hours.

School “Drug Free Zones” currently extend to 1,500 feet beyond the perimeter of the campus, but the current proposal would limit the drug-free area to 200 feet and differentiates between regular school hours, after-hours school-sponsored activities, and non-school sponsored times of the day. Day care centers currently enjoy similar “Drug Free Zone” definitions of 1,500 feet and extending to all hours of the day. According to a press release from Mr. O’Dea, House Bill 6511 would similarly limit the zone to only 200 feet beyond the perimeter and only during day care center operating hours.

“I believe our Connecticut schools should be places of learning,” Mr. O’Dea said in the press release. “We should hold our schools to high standards. 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?

“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 legislature should not distinguish between class hours, a homecoming dance, and when the first school bus drops off children before classes start,” Mr. O’Dea said.

“Selling or possessing drugs is illegal. When drugs are sold at or near public schools, we have allowed them to become dangerous environments. 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.”