by Erika Hoffman, Legislative Advocate
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama proposed a range of initiatives to address gun violence and school safety in response to the school shootings in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. While progress has been made on a number of the proposed Executive Actions, Congress has yet to pass legislation that would implement programs to provide specific funding for school districts to hire and train additional counselors, social workers and resource officers.
Last week, the Administration did release its “Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans,” which provides guidance to school districts and states on everything from school design to planning emergency drills to balancing privacy and student safety. The guide was developed by the U.S. departments of Education, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Justice along with the FBI and FEMA.
The guide provides school districts with additional information and identifies issues that should be considered when developing and updating local school safety plans, including working with first responders and local public and mental health professionals. This document is not a mandate to local schools and districts but seeks to provide examples of good practices and matters to consider for planning and implementation purposes.
More information can be found on the Department of Education website.