House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Concerning school safety.
Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senator Padden).
Hearing Date: 2/19/18
Staff: Megan Wargacki (786-7194).
Safe School Plans.
The Legislature requires public schools to have plans and procedures in place in the event of an emergency resulting from natural or man-made disasters. These plans and procedures are known as "safe school plans". Safe school plans include procedures for disaster prevention, intervention, all hazard/crisis response, and post-crisis recovery. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) provides guidance to school districts to develop their own safe school plan unique to their geographic location. School districts are encouraged to work with local emergency management agencies and other emergency responders to conduct emergency response exercises and, to the extent funds are available, to update their safe school plans.
State School Safety Center.
The Legislature directed the OSPI to create a School Safety Center in 2001. The School Safety Center must disseminate successful models of school safety plans and cooperative efforts, provide assistance to schools to establish a comprehensive safe school plan, select models of cooperative efforts that have been proven successful, coordinate activities relating to school safety, and maintain a school safety information website.
Regional School Safety and Security Programs.
In 2016, legislation was enacted allowing educational service districts (ESDs) to implement a regional school safety and security program. The program should include:
the establishment of a network of ESD school safety coordinators;
the creation of technology-based systems that enable communication between schools and response entities;
ongoing training of school personnel and emergency responders to establish a system for preventative identification, intervention strategies, and management of risk behaviors; and
collaboration with other ESDs, the OSPI, and the school safety advisory committee.
The program, which is subject to funding by the Legislature, has not received funding.
Private schools are subject to minimum state controls, such as those necessary to insure the health and safety of all students in the state. In addition, private school buildings must meet reasonable health and fire safety requirements
Summary of Bill:
Notifications from First Responders.
Whenever a first responder agency notifies a school of a situation which may necessitate an evacuation or lockdown, the agency must also determine if other schools in the vicinity are similarly threatened and must notify every other school in the vicinity for which an evacuation or lockdown appears reasonably necessary. A first responder agency and its officers, agents, and employees are not liable for such notification or failure to notify, unless a first responder agency and its officers, agents, and employees acted with willful disregard. For purposes of these requirements, the term "school" includes a private school.
Regional School Safety Centers.
Subject to the appropriation of specific funds, two ESDs must establish regional School Safety Centers as part of a statewide network. The ESDs must be selected by the OSPI in coordination with the nine ESDs, with one located on either side of the crest of the Cascade Mountains.
The purpose of this statewide network is to provide regional coordination of school safety efforts related to behavioral health threat assessment and suicide prevention. The regional school safety centers must consult with the state school safety center in order to unify discussions around safety across the state. The two selected ESDs must employ a behavioral health threat assessment coordinator for their regional school safety center.
The regional school safety centers must provide technical assistance to school districts seeking funding for first aid, health, and safety and security resources including defibrillators and saws with automatic braking systems.
Private schools may contract with regional school safety centers for school safety resources and services.
The statute allowing ESDs to implement a regional school safety and security program is repealed.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed. However, the section creating the regional school safety centers is null and void unless funded in the budget.