Tennessee’s public schools will get more money for trained school resource officers in the event a disturbed student goes on a shooting spree.
State officials identified the lack of trained resource officers as a major area of risk in the event another such tragedy was to occur.
School Resource Officers are sworn law enforcement agents selected and trained to serve at designated schools. They are typically employed by local law enforcement agencies or even state police.
Some schools, according to a new school safety plan put forward by Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, don’t have SROs due to lack of funding.
“The governor’s proposed budget and school safety plan doubles the amount of recurring school safety grant funding for schools, which can be used toward SROs or other facility security measures,” according to the plan.
Haslam announced the plan in March.
This week Haslam announced $35 million to improve the state’s school security situation.
Haslam spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals, in an emailed statement to The Tennessee Star, said 99 percent of schools have already completed a safety assessment as part of that plan.
According to Knoxville TV news outlet WATE, this is the first-ever statewide assessment of school facilities, safety procedures and safety needs.
“A total of $25 million will go towards one-time improvements that will address vulnerabilities and risks. The remaining $10 million will be in the form of recurring grant funding,” the station reported.
The state is working to secure a developer to complete a statewide school safety mobile application. This would allow students, faculty and staff to anonymously report concerns to local law enforcement and school officials.
Tennessee Department of Education spokesman Chandler Hopper said in an emailed statement that plans are in the works for a statewide technology application so students can anonymously report threats or suspicious activity by other students or even faculty and staff.
“The concept, which Haslam is also pushing for a 2018-19 school year implementation, would provide for direct communication among and between the individual reporting the threat or activity and the state, local law enforcement officials and local school districts,” according to the statement.
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