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School Safety Legislation Across the Nation
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The California Constitution guarantees children the right to attend public schools that are safe, secure and peaceful. In pursuit of this, California legislators and leaders have passed a number of school safety bills aimed at creating a culture of safety and wellbeing for all California students.
California Education Code Sections 32280–32289.5 require all K-12 schools, public and charter, to develop and maintain a Comprehensive School Safety Plan (CSSP) to address campus risk, prepare for emergencies and create a safe learning environment. These plans must be assessed, updated and approved annually.
Written in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, California Assembly Bill 1747 requires that all K-12 schools develop and train staff on active shooter response protocols. Seeking to close gaps in security policies, AB 1747 involves law enforcement and the California Department of Education more directly in the development and oversight of active shooter response procedures.
Currently awaiting a vote in the California Senate, Assembly Bill 99 would require schools to implement crisis intervention and targeted violence prevention programs by August 2023. If passed, AB 99 would ensure the establishment of multidisciplinary threat assessment teams at all schools.
Florida House Bill 1421 (HB 1421) updates the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act and focuses on improving transparency around school safety and security as well as student mental health awareness. The bill was unanimously passed in both the House and Senate before reaching the desk of Governor DeSantis for signature. Signed into law on June 7, 2022, HB 1421 went into effect on July 1, 2022.
The bill authorizes the Commissioner of Education to enforce, rather than just oversee, statewide compliance with the updated standards in four main areas of improvement:
- Family reunification plans
- Emergency drill procedures
- Youth mental health awareness
- School safety officers
HB1421 Analysis & Solutions Guide
Download our guide to learn more about HB1421 and how our holistic school safety solutions are working better together to streamline emergency management processes and ensure open communication channels between school staff, families and first responders.
Florida’s House Bill 7, the “Individual Freedom” bill, went into effect on July 1, 2022. The bill requires instruction and instructional materials in public schools to adhere to the principles that no person is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive by virtue of their race or sex and that meritocracy and hard work ethic are fundamental to every person’s right to pursue success. Discussions of topics such as sexism, slavery, racial oppression and racial discrimination are not prohibited but must be conducted in an objective manner that does not endorse a certain point of view.
The Individual Freedom bill also outlines new guidelines for teaching difficult historical topics, such as African American history and the Holocaust. Affirming that the aim of this instruction should be to develop students’ understanding of the ramifications of prejudice and racism, schools are required to teach information that educates students on what it means to be respectful and responsible citizens. HB 7 also calls for the focus of this subject matter to be on encouraging tolerance of diversity to protect democratic principles. In line with these parameters of developing students into informed and productive citizens, high school-level character development instruction will now focus on fostering life skills that will build confidence, support mental and emotional health and enable students to overcome challenges.
Georgia Code § 20-2-1185 established the requirement that all K-12 schools have a school safety plan to curb the incidences of violence on school campuses and provide a safe learning environment for all students, teachers and staff. The legislation also provides for funding requests to be made for the installation of physical security equipment. The Georgia Department of Education provided a School Safety Plan Template to help ensure district leaders are able to develop a plan that meets all requirements.
Passed in 2021, the School Safety Drill Act established requirements for schools to follow when conducting school safety drills and creating emergency response plans. The bill also encouraged schools and first responders to work together for the safety of children. With its passage, districts were also required to implement threat assessment teams that include an administrator, teacher, counselor, psychologist, social worker and at least one law enforcement officer.
House Bill 3674 amends the School Safety Drill Act to specify the required involvement of law enforcement in safety and security drills. HB 3674 outlines the following enhancements:
- Schools must conduct a law enforcement walkthrough drill that addresses an active threat or active shooter situation
- Drill content and procedures must be created by a team that includes administrators, teachers, school-based health and mental health professionals, and law enforcement agency members
- The multidisciplinary team must evaluate the results of the walkthrough within two weeks of it being conducted
Michigan Landing Page
Michigan’s newly passed bipartisan state budget marks a record-breaking investment in school safety funding and student mental health support. The budget sets whole-child safety as a top priority for Michigan, allocating $66 million for safety and security and $361 million for mental health support. Schools will receive grants to support a variety of efforts, including risk assessment, critical incident response training, mental health screening tools and hiring support staff.
Funding is also provided for a variety of areas that educators and school leaders have identified as concerns. These include special education, teacher retention and increased access to preschool. Two vital areas of focus are safety and security grants and student mental health support. With this investment in both the physical and emotional safety of students, Michigan takes an important step toward truly safe schools.
What Michigan’s New Budget Means for Your Safety & Security Spending this School Year
New Jersey has led the way in school safety enhancements in recent years. In addition to passing Alyssa’s Law in 2019, Governor Phil Murphy has also signed into law legislative pieces that establish a framework for age-appropriate school security drills and require schools to establish behavioral threat assessment teams.
A-5727/S-3726 requires that all school security drills be conducted in a manner that is both age-appropriate and trauma-informed. These standards aim to prevent any unnecessary traumatization being done to New Jersey students. Governor Murphy has expressed that the goal of this legislation is to ensure that students are informed and prepared to face an active threat while also keeping front of mind the mental health needs of children.
Signed into law on August 1, 2022, P.L. 2022, c. 83 requires all schools to put in place a multidisciplinary threat assessment team in time for the 2023-2024 school year. The New Jersey Department of Education, along with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and state law enforcement agencies, will provide guidance on the development and training of these teams. In addition, training will be provided to school officials on behavioral threat assessment and management.
The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Act was introduced to help improve school safety, and it requires school districts to develop a comprehensive districtwide school safety plan that addresses crisis intervention and emergency response and management. The safety plan developed by each district must include, among other things, policies and procedures for annual school safety training for staff and students.
Generally, district officials are required to provide the school safety training, including a component on mental health, to all staff annually. School districts must certify that all staff members have undergone the school safety training, which must include a component on mental health.
New York also passed Alyssa’s Law in June 2022, requiring all schools to implement silent panic alert systems.
In June 2021, the North Carolina Task Force for Safer Schools produced a five-year North Carolina State Action Plan for School Safety (SAPSS). It is intended to be an evolving action plan that will be used to monitor school safety efforts across the state and adjusted as circumstances and situations change. The task force expressed that through a whole-school, whole-community, whole-child approach, every school in North Carolina will be a safe school in which all students can learn and all teachers can teach.
The SAPSS established the following specific goals:
- Promote a positive learning environment
- Prevent incidents of school violence from occurring
- Protect students, teachers & staff from incidents of school violence
- Strengthen capability for effective responses to incidents of school violence
- Build capacity & readiness for recovery from incidents of school violence
Signed into law on June 13, 2022, Ohio House Bill 99 appropriated $6 million to expand the Ohio School Safety Center and create a new Safety & Crisis Division. It also mandated reasonable training requirements for those individuals approved to be armed on campus. Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly have also taken the following action:
- Approved $100 million of funding to provide physical security upgrades for K-12 school campuses
- Instructed the OSSC to equip schools statewide with free, evidence-based threat assessment training
- Created a $1.2 billion Student Wellness and Success Fund to provide robust mental health programs
Texas Character Education Page
In response to the tragedy at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott took action this summer to strengthen school safety and security measures. He issued a mandate requiring the following action:
- All drills must be scheduled before the start of the school year
- All staff & substitutes must be trained in specific safety procedures
- Conduct assessments of all access points
- Random inspections where staff attempt to enter the school to see how quickly they are stopped
- Any school that fails an emergency operation plan (EOP) audit must notify the public or state can take over leadership
In addition, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas School Safety Center (TXSSC) published new procedures that include weekly exterior door sweeps of every campus by local law enforcement, Intruder Detection Audits that will require schools to show documentation of weekly sweeps, a recommendation for multi-agency active threat exercise to be conducted outside of regular instructional hours, and a review of all districts’ Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plans to focus on active threat responses.
Virginia has taken extensive action to ensure the safety and security of their school campuses. Various state codes have established the following requirements:
- Development of school safety plans with local law enforcement contribution
- Mandatory safety drills for bus evacuation, lock-down, fire & tornado
- Designation of an emergency manager in each district
- Annual security audits & site mapping review
- Mental health awareness training for all school staff
- Creation of a multidisciplinary threat assessment team
For more information on Viriginia State Codes, Visit LIS Virginia Law.
Named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a victim of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, Alyssa’s Law addresses the issue of emergency response time with silent panic alert systems linked directly to first responders and law enforcement agencies. Some Alyssa’s Law legislation also requires schools to conduct safety risk assessments and make any physical security measures recommended. The law has already been passed in Florida, New Jersey and New York. It is currently awaiting votes in Arizona, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia and at the federal level.
Safety & Security Solutions
Safety & Security Suite: Operating as a single visitor, volunteer, panic button and emergency management solution set, our Safety & Security Suite integrates Emergency Management Suite (EMS) and Visitor & Volunteer Management to ensure real-time, whole-campus oversight and accountability and improve communication pathways. The suite provides a variety of features, including Alyssa’s Law-compliant silent panic alarms, robust safety checks, guidance to ensure Department of Education (DOE) compliance and comprehensive site mapping.
Risk Assessment: As the only Expert Service Consultants internationally recognized by A.M. Best’s Client Recommended Expert Service Providers for Risk Assessments, Navigate360’s team of board-certified Physical Security Professionals (PSPs) are exceptionally qualified to perform your risk assessment. This can give you peace of mind to stay focused on your school’s critical safety and security missions.
Site Mapping: Navigate360’s site mapping service provides EMS customers with an interactive map for first responders and staff with 360° views of every room in the structure. Enable first responders to get where help is needed first with speed and efficiency. Site mapping is designed for leaders who plan for the worst-case scenario while laying the foundation for a culture of safety and preparedness.
ALICE Training®: The ALICE program is a proactive, options-based active shooter response training program that empowers students and staff to survive in the face of violence. This trauma-informed, age- and ability-appropriate training program provides your schools with both eLearning and in-person instruction options and teaches proven techniques for safety drills and emergency response.
Detect: Combining both web filtering and digital scanning, Detect is the most comprehensive, all-encompassing digital safety solution available. This software helps identify and address a student’s intent to harm themselves or others by scanning digital content in real time and notifying school administrators of harm language found in school-owned email and public social media. It also utilizes a web indexing database of 3 billion URLs to protect students from potentially harmful content.
P3 Anonymous Tip Reporting: P3 serves as a forum for collaboration and accountability between school administrators, peace officers and mental health professionals to ensure every student’s needs are met. Our technology also powers well-known national and state-level tip lines such as Sandy Hook Promise’s Say Something program and Safe2Tell Colorado. As the leading anonymous reporting tool, our software empowers students, teachers and other individuals to proactively share information about safety, bullying, self-harm and violence.
Behavioral Threat Assessment Training: Aligned with the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) or the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) threat assessment model, this is a two-part behavioral threat assessment training program that combines online and in-person (available live or virtual) learning to build the confidence needed to identify and properly intervene when a child is showing signs of a mental health crisis.
Behavioral Threat & Suicide Case Management: This single solution will provide your school’s mental health professionals and BTA team members with evidence-based case management software that allows for continuum of care documentation and analytics reporting to proactively improve outcomes for students of concern.
Mental Health & Wellness
Suite360 for Students: Help your students reach their full potential and thrive with the most comprehensive, evidence-based social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum available. Suite360 for Students includes scaffolded lessons for grades K-12, engaging content that students understand and diverse topics that help to produce well-rounded students.
Suite360 for Staff: Support your staff by educating and equipping them with on-demand digital courses to provide for students’ and staff members’ social-emotional and mental health needs. Empower teachers and school staff to address complex issues students face today and increase the inclusivity and consistency of your SEL program by ensuring your staff is properly prepared.
Suite360 for Families: Fully welcome caregivers into their children’s social-emotional education with these web-based and mobile lessons that equip them to have smart conversations with their children about today’s toughest challenges. Lessons are aligned with what children are learning to prepare families to effectively support their child’s development.
Mental Health & Prevention: Navigate360 provides mental health awareness tools to address tough mental health and safety-related topics. With professionally developed resources for students, staff and families, everyone can care for their own mental health and respond appropriately when they or someone they care about is in need.
Intervention & Restorative Practices: Turn discipline into a learning opportunity by providing students with lessons based on their infraction, providing a better alternative to detention and suspension and improving decision-making moving forward. With the most comprehensive, continuously updated library of lessons, students have access to individualized lessons based on their behavior, cognitive level and ability.
Navigate360 Offers Holistic Solutions that Support Students, Schools & Communities
We know it takes more than a single solution to take care of the whole child and the schools and community that surround them, which is why we believe in solutions that work better together. From prevention all the way through response and recovery, we can provide end-to-end solutions that keep your students, teachers and staff safe.
Building a comprehensive safety plan can be a daunting task, but we are here to help. Speak with one of our safety specialists today to learn how you can maximize your safety grants and state funding and build a holistic ecosystem of whole-child safety this year.