A legislative priority passed at the Spring 2018 GAE RA, which reads “Secure safe public schools by opposing any legislation allowing school personnel, other than trained resource officers, to be armed. Encouraging our members to sign up to speak at these hearings of their concerns of arming teachers and other school personnel, and any other resolution(s) GAE may have passed regarding school safety.”
Based on the priority statement, please take an opportunity to attend these hearings when they are in your area. Our senators need to hear GAE’s state and local voices on this critical matter.
Senate School Safety Study Committee Notes for: Friday, June 8
The Senate School Safety Study Committee held its first meeting today at North Springs Charter High School in Atlanta. Chaired by Senator John Albers (R-Alpharetta), this study committee was created by Senate Resolution 935 to study the conditions, needs, issues, and problems to help curb incidents of violence in schools and to ensure preparedness in school safety plans and that policies and procedures are in place to respond effectively.
Dr. Garry McGiboney, Georgia Department of Education gave an overview of current laws addressing school safety programs and helps available to students. Among the items he discussed:
- Crisis management and prevention in Georgia’s public schools
- Schools taking advantage of training offered by GEMA
- Cannot separate school climate from school safety
- More schools trained in PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce discipline incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improve academic outcomes. More than 1,000 Georgia schools have received this training
- Address mental health of students
- APEX Project – mental health therapist come to schools
- Suicide Prevention Program
- Georgia Crisis Line 1-800-715-4225
- Safety Matters 1-877-SAY-STOP
Dr. McGiboney stated that some funding was provided in the FY 19 budget for students mental health issues. The budget also contained monies for planning safety programs in schools, and he recommended that current funding continues. Some items schools should think about:
- Revisit all main entrances
- Revisit and ensure all exterior doors
- Card access systems
- Visitor ID system
- New or updated surveillance
Fulton County Schools Department of Safety & Security directed by Dr. Shannon A. Flournoy talked about his overall program, which is a model other schools systems might wish to explore.
Others gave ideas and recommendations to the committee including students, a teacher, parent, and chief officers of the police and fire departments of Sandy Springs.