School Safety

CSG Midwest
Ohio has become the latest state in the Midwest to address school safety through a mix of new laws and funding. Under HB 318, signed into law in August, a $12 million grant program will be established for schools to pursue training in a number of areas, from how to deal with an active shooter to how to help students with mental health issues. Over the next few months, too, the Ohio Department of Public Safety will conduct studies of school security in order to ensure the proper infrastructure is in place to keep students safe.
One particular emphasis of Ohio’s new law is school resource officers. HB 318 establishes new qualifications and training requirements for these police officers working inside schools, while also specifying the type of services that they can provide (for example, fostering problem-solving strategies and contributing to emergency management plans).

On May 23, 2018, following a series of deadly school bus incidents, the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, announced its recommendation to implement seat belts on all new school buses. A 2017 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report showed the average number of school bus related fatalities was 30 deaths per year and that 0.4 percent of national traffic fatalities were school-transportation related.

CSG Midwest
Most states in the region have statutes addressing school safety or emergency preparedness — some more prescriptive than others. Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, for example, require schools or school districts to have a comprehensive school safety or emergency plan.

The Arizona Senate on Monday approved a bill along party lines that would allow teachers in rural school districts to carry concealed firearms. Arizona’s Senate Bill 1325 would apply to employees in schools with fewer than 600 students, that are located more than 30 minutes and 20 miles away from the closest law-enforcement facility, and do not have their own school resource officers. The bill, which passed the Senate on a 17-11 vote, now moves to the House.

Suggested State Legislation: The Act establishes a state grant program to improve security infrastructure in schools, install security systems in schools’ primary entryways, purchase portable security devices, and train school personnel to use the devices and the infrastructure.