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BOISE -- Lawmakers will soon be presented with a bill that would require schools to have safety and security plans on campuses and buses.

The proposal comes in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, and proponents say it would help keep all students and teachers safer by coordinating with law enforcement well in advance of emergency.

After a lot of discussion about requiring schools to do specific things, such as arming teachers, the new draft legislation is built on not being overly specific.

Senator Marv Hagedorn (R-Meridian) introduced the school security and safety draft legislation to the Senate Education Committee on Monday afternoon, and he says the whole idea is to allow different communities to make plans based on their needs and resources.

According to the proposed bill, each school district would however need multiple security deterrents. Examples listed in the draft legislation include metal detectors, school resource officers, and authorizing people to carry firearms. But Hagedorn stresses each district and sheriff's office would decide which deterrents to use.

At the beginning of the session, everyone was coming up with ideas like we have to have SROs in every school, Hagedorn said. We have to have guns in every school. All of this stuff going around. Unfortunately not all schools are alike. Not all communities are alike. So what we need to do is take people in local areas, have them put the plans together that they're going to have to react to and that's best for them.

Hagedorn says the main idea is to link experts in schools to experts in law enforcement to figure out how a specific community should best handle security. That, he says, is why there aren't extreme specifics in the bill.

If people think that we need to have a resource officer in every school, they need to think about the small schools like in Council or Potlatch that don't have the money to have a resource officer. They don't have the money to have an officer in town. So we need to allow them to take the resources that they have and put a good school security plan together, Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn says his bill would have every district's board of trustees work with its local sheriff's office on a security plan. He says all students and teachers would also train on the district's specific plan. Each year, the plan would need to be supported, updated and tested by districts.

Each school district's plan would be reported to the State Department of Education. The districts' specific plans, as the bill is currently proposed, would not be public record.

This draft legislation has to go through a few steps to be formally printed and considered, but Hagedorn expects those steps to be taken soon with a hearing in the near future.


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