DiMaso proposes school safety legislation

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Monmouth), along with her colleagues Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz (R-Union) and Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen), today called on the legislature to take action on a 10 bill package they introduced last week to address school safety in light of the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida and other tragic incidents.

The proposed legislation is based on recommendations from two panels of experts that were set-up in the wake of the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn, DiMaso and Munoz said in a joint statement.   The groups included government officials, education leaders, law enforcement, community members, school officials, teachers and parents.

“Up until now the majority of discussions have focused on stricter gun laws, which are already the toughest in the nation,” said Munoz.  “But we can make a significant difference by focusing on making our schools the safest in the country.”

“The school-security and gun-violence task forces gave us a set of security recommendations years ago, unfortunately the Legislature failed to act on these recommendations,” said DiMaso (R-Monmouth). “Many school districts are doing everything they can to ensure their schools are as safe as possible, but the state can do more to help ensure those districts are using the best practices.”

One of the recommendations from a 2015 school-security task force report called for requiring all students and staff to wear visible identification cards at all times, something that has become common in some school districts but is hardly standard practice.

Other preparedness proposals call for uniform training of all school employees with law enforcement to ensure use of best practices before, during and after school emergencies, and better communication during emergencies.

“Making our schools safe is everyone’s responsibility,” continued Munoz. “Law enforcement, school administrators, teachers and students all have a role to play.  Having comprehensive and consistent plans in place statewide will help make our schools as safe as possible for everyone.”

The Senate and Assembly education committees are expected to hold hearing on issues related to school security on Thursday.

“Everyone should feel safe at school: students, parents, and teachers alike,” concluded DiMaso.  “Making sure that all our schools are using the best plans will ease all concerns.”

The bill package includes:

– Requiring the attorney general and Education Department to share best practices on school security with school districts (AR154), based on recommendation #4 of the 2015 N.J. School Security Task Force report.

– Training for all school employees and local police on how to handle a school emergency (A3787 and A3793), based on recommendation #5 of the 2015 N.J. School Security Task Force Report and recommendation #5.10 of the 2013 N.J. SAFE Task Force Report.

– Create a 24-hour State Police hotline for tips that must be shared with local police and school officials (A3789), based on recommendation #5.1 of the 2013 N.J. SAFE Task Force Report.

– Better real-time communication between school security, emergency responders and law enforcement during emergencies, and procedures to notify parents (A3788), based on recommendation #10-12 of the 2015 N.J. School Security Task Force Report.

– Require all school employees and students to carry identification cards (A3790), based on recommendation #27-31 of the 2015 N.J. School Security Task Force Report.

– The Department of Education must review and rate all school safety and security plans and school district emergency communications policies (A3791.

– Require DOE and Homeland Security to develop online forum for schools to share best practices (A3792), based on recommendation #5.12 of the 2013 N.J. SAFE Task Force Report.

Posted: April 4th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, Education, Monmouth County News, NJ State Legislature, School Safety | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

One Comment on “DiMaso proposes school safety legislation”

  1. Good start, said at 8:52 pm on April 4th, 2018:

    now how about requiring that any public building constructed with taxpayers’ dollars, (schools, libraries, town halls, etc.) include main entrance metal detectors in each bid spec? Or, you don’t get your funding. We spend billions on fancy facades, gyms, theaters, pools, etc.: what good is it all if crazies can get in at the front door, and blow people away?
    And, that the state Division of Purchase and Property be instructed to go out for co-op bids on various sizes and types of metal detectors, so that all entities can easily buy them for their buildings, without having to do their own bids. We have them in courtrooms, airports, stadiums, etc: why not for protecting our kids?
    And, while you’re at it, when are we going to mandate that all school buses in NJ be outfitted with seat belts? Isn’t it nuts that we have to “click it or ticket,” and we can’t bring our babies home without safe, belted car seats? But kids can stand and carry on and can get tossed around/ hurt/ killed, if in an accident?
    We need current, concise, common- sense policies that actually will save lives and possibly stop bad armed people from coming in, and this can be done quickly, if they really want to help solve problems, with bi- partisan support!