New Tennessee School Safety Bill Will Mitigate School Threats

New Tennessee School Safety Bill Will Mitigate School Threats

Last year, Williamson County Schools implemented a three-tiered WCS Threat Assessment Flowchart to help mitigate school threats. Now, a bill has been signed into law that will help districts in Tennessee establish a threat assessment team.

Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill into law last Tuesday that has the goal of reducing incidents of threat in school buildings across the state. Williamson County Schools implemented a three-tiered WCS Threat Assessment Flowchart last year following multiple school threats in 2018, and this is what the bill is modeled after.

According to the Tennessean, the bill will help districts in Tennessee establish a threat assessment team by providing guidance in the types of expertise a good team should contain.

“The purpose of the threat assessment team is to develop comprehensive intervention-based approaches to prevent violence, manage reports of potential threats, and create a system that fosters a safe, supportive, and effective school environment,” the bill states.

Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, said that the bill is meant to serve as a guide on how school districts can best protect students against threats.

“I am proud that each and every member of the General Assembly joined with Gov. Bill Lee to make school safety a top priority,” Ogles said. “Tennessee is leading the nation in school safety initiatives. It is a joyful endeavor to support the professionals who diligently work to protect our state’s most precious asset — our children.”

WCS superintendent Jason Golden said the threat assessment flowchart was built to make sure harm doesn’t reach students within school walls. He said one of the main safety measures they implemented at schools is the presence of a school resource officer in every Williamson Country school. For high schools with more than 1,500 students, they provide two officers.

“A superintendent’s worst fear is someone getting hurt,” Golden said. “Some things you cannot control, and you do everything that you can to increase school safety. There is no substitute for people.”

Earlier this year, a bill was passed that required “the Tennessee school safety center to establish school safety grants to assist LEAs in funding programs that address school safety.” This bill made Tennessee the first state to fund a school resource officer for every publish school.

About the Author

Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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