May 11, 2018

School Safety Measure Revived For Special Session

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Lawmakers will consider a revived school safety measure during Monday's special session.

The regular session’s school safety bill focused on human trafficking and cyberbullying at first, but after the Parkland, Florida, shooting, lawmakers added more school safety language into the bill that ultimately didn’t pass. Now, it’s back, and part of it would allow teachers to wait for up to three minutes before evacuating students during an unplanned fire alarm – just in case of a school shooter.

But state Department of Education spokesperson Adam Baker, says it’s just an option for schools.

“One of the things we’ve also stressed to them is make sure at all times all of your community partners are involved,” he says.

READ MORE: McCormick Says Improvements Needed In School Safety Policy

Baker says the department encourages schools to meet state rules, but there's enough flexibility for them to form safety plans unique to their district.

“This is something you may do as a district as a school building, but your folks at that local level are going to better know the area, better understand the situation and can help you determine if that’s the best approach.”

The bill also makes up to $5 million available for the state’s secure school fund, and says schools can receive an advance from the state’s common school fund to improve security. Schools would be able to levy a property tax to help pay that money back to the state.

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