Spurred in part by recent mass shootings on school grounds, state policymakers and university officials have revisited the issue of concealed carry gun permits on college campuses in an attempt to make those campuses safer. For some of the states that have passed concealed campus carry legislation, schools have faced costs in upgrading campus security facilities.

Just days before the end of the 84th legislative session, Texas lawmakers approved a measure along party lines requiring public universities to allow certain individuals 21 years and older to carry concealed handguns on campus. Although the bill had not been signed into law as of June 9, Gov. Greg Abbot repeatedly has expressed his approval of the measure. One noticeable absence from the bill, however, is the lack of provisions detailing how the likely costs of upgrading campus security facilities will be funded, an issue that has plagued other states allowing concealed campus carry.

According to the United States Department of Labor, “approximately 450,000 people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest in the United States” and “early defibrillation is the only definitive treatment for sudden cardiac arrest” with the best “save” rates occurring when an electric shock is delivered within three minutes of a patient's collapse. Because of the urgency of the situation, the increasing incidence of cardiac arrest in children, and the frequent use of schools as a gathering place for public functions and events for all ages, states have enacted legislation providing for the placement of automated external defibrillators (AED) in schools. Many of the acts are named in memory of a student who died of sudden cardiac arrest following an athletic practice or event at a school.

The December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, sparked a reevaluation of school security and the safety of both students and staff. One issue that emerged was whether certain adults should be allowed to possess weapons within school buildings to deter and defend against armed intruders.

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Over the past seven years, every state in the Midwest has established policies that aim to prevent bullying in the schools. But how detailed and far-reaching should these policies be? On that question, there is considerable variation among the states, especially in light of new laws now in place in Minnesota and IllinoiIn both of those states, the legislatures chose this year to significantly expand the role of states — and their local school districts — in bullying prevention and intervention.

A new Idaho law went into effect yesterday. Senate Bill 1254 permits individuals with concealed carry licenses to carry firearms onto university and college campuses in order to promote public safety on campuses.  However, firearms are not allowed in dormitories or public entertainment facilities such as an arena, stadium, theater or other such facilities that seats more than 1,000 persons. Violators will lose their concealed carry license for three years. The law also prohibits individuals from carrying weapons while intoxicated and carries a penalty of a misdemeanor.

The Community Eligibility Provision of the National School Lunch Program allows schools with high concentrations of poverty to feed their entire student body at no cost to the students. More than 28,000 schools serving over 44 percent of all students will be eligible for the program in 2014-2015, the first year it is available nationwide. 

In 2011, some 5 percent of high school students reported carrying weapons to school. Between the 2000-01 and 2010-11 school years, 468 deaths occurred at school, during school events or when the victim was traveling to or from school. Schools use many methods to protect students, staff and visitors, including controlling access to the school building and the use of security guards. Following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., several states have also enacted legislation to formally regulate firearms in schools

During a national briefing call on June 3, Texas Sen. John Whitmire noted that, in his state, 84% of African American boys had received one or more suspensions in their educational career.  This was a startling wake-up call for policymakers and is now a priority as they work to create welcoming school cultures and effective learning conditions to keep students in the classroom.

A report released this week by The Council of State Governments Justice Center details more than 60 evidence-based recommendations on how states and communities can make their schools safer and help students succeed. "The School Discipline Consensus Report" is the result of a three-year effort involving a 100-member working group comprised of experts in the field of school safety, behavioral health, juvenile justice, social services, law enforcement and child welfare.