That school safety legislation? Give it an asterisk | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 19, 2018

That school safety legislation? Give it an asterisk

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 10:59 AM

The House last week passed the STOP School Violence Act and members of Congress are spraining arms patting themselves on the back.

Take Republican U.S. Rep. French HIll:

Central Arkansas families deserve to know that their kids are safe and secure at school, especially in light of the recent horrible tragedy in Parkland, Florida. As a father of a current high school and college student, this issue hits close to home.

I have listened to students, families, schools, and organizations in central Arkansas on matters regarding school safety, and I'm working with my colleagues in Congress and local schools to implement measures that will help save innocent lives.

No parent, teacher, or child should ever fear for their safety at school. It makes no sense that we protect our airports, homes, and businesses, but don’t adequately protect our own kids at school.

We took action in the House this week by passing the STOP School Violence Act. This bill dedicates $75 million to strengthening protocols, training, and other vital components of school security. This includes training students, teachers, school officials, and local law enforcement how to identify and intervene early when signs of violence arise, creates a coordinated reporting system, and implements FBI and Secret Service-based school threat assessment protocols to prevent school shootings before they happen.
Two things:

1) This bill was introduced before the Parkland shooting, but action was speeded up afterward. Even the NRA supported it because it gave Congress something tangible that had NOTHING to do with gun safety.

2) It doesn't go far. Arkansas, for example, gets $1 million for its 288 school districts, maybe enough to hire and equip a modestly paid resource officer for a few dozen of them Education Week has taken a long look at the cost of school security and what this legislation would contribute and the bottom line is clear — not very much.

Last October, the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) released a series of cost estimates for schools that want to reach four different levels of security and safety. The Security Industry Association and the National Systems Contractors Association, both industry groups that prepared the estimates for PASS, listed a series of improvements schools could make to get from Tier 1—the basic level—to Tier 4, the top level of security for schools according to PASS.

Let's start at the top. Here are a few of the measures PASS says a school needs in order to have "Tier 4" security:

Bullet-resistant glass;
Gated parking with card-based access;
Mobile applications for video surveillance;
Visitors who are pre-enrolled in a school's system;
Emergency notifications that are integrated with weather and fire alerts.

That assumes a school already has upgrades required to reach the first three tiers, including prerequisites to reach Tier 1 like perimeter signage, self-adhesive visitor badges, and security policies and procedures, up through setting up video surveillance in all common areas and equipping staff with two-way radios.

So when you add up all the prerequisities to become a Tier 4 school what's the cost? It depends on the type of school, but here are the two specific estimates from PASS:

K-8: $312,241

High School: $539,388

So Arkansas got enough for one K-8 and one high school, presuming they were already up to tier three protection. Another $130 million and it can get the whole job down, Education Week figures.

French Hill DID say this was just a "first step."

Tags: , ,



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • French Hill votes against disaster aid to Puerto Rico

    Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill alone among Arkansas's House delegation voted last week against a measure that provided $36.5 billion in disaster aid, a portion  for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as well as money for wildfire response and to support the flood insurance program.
    • Oct 14, 2017
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017


Most Viewed

  • Pine Bluff native wages war on fraternity culture

    Bloomberg has an interesting feature on Deborah Dunklin Tipton of Memphis, a native of Pine Bluff and heiress to an Arkansas agricultural fortune, who's put her money to work investigating the death of her son Robert in 2012 of what's been ruled an accidental drug overdose following fraternity hazing at High Point University in North Carolina.
  • School superintendent Poore not registered to vote

    Blogger Russ Racop dug up a factoid of interest this week on Little Rock School Superintendent Mike Poore: He's not registered to vote in Pulaski County.
  • Judge denies Jon Woods' request to be free pending appeal UPDATE

    Judge Timothy Brooks has rejected former state Sen. Jon Woods' request that he be allowed to remain free pending appeal of his public corruption conviction to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. UPDATED with news on co-defendant Randell Shelton and a request for a trial delay by Jeremy Hutchinson in another public corruption case.
  • Breaking: Ken Starr doesn't like the Clintons. Look who's talking about morality

    Surprise. Former Whitewater persecutor Kenneth Starr's new book trashes Bill and Hillary Clinton, as the Democrat-Gazette made clear this morning. You'd think Starr was some moral exemplar as he whines about his "persona non grata" status in Arkansas.
  • Judge strikes down Rogers' anti-panhandling ordinance

    The ACLU has won another lawsuit against an anti-panhandling ordinance, this time in Rogers.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation