In the wake of 2018’s school tragedies, both school and state government officials plan to address school violence. This includes substantial changes to school safety laws in 2019.

The first two months of 2019 saw almost 250 safety bills proposed. That’s already nearly half of the total safety bills introduced in 2018. In all states, lawmakers look to address bullying, gun violence and emergency preparedness. While all states have similar goals in mind, their strategies towards meeting these goals differ.


School Safety

The main type of bills proposed focus on emergency preparedness. In 2019, schools may increase how often they run emergency drills. Also, schools may work with law enforcement to draft these plans.

Additionally, many school safety bills focus on law enforcement officers. Dozens of bills across all states include proposals for school resource officers (SROs). SROs are law-enforcement officials certified to provide security in schools. In addition, bills address where funding for SROs programs will come from and what kind of training they should receive.

However, several points among the bills differ widely. For example, proposed bills differ on whether or not a school resource officer can carry a gun


School Violence

Lawmakers are also discussing laws that address bullying. Exact concerns include cyber-bullying and hazing. Additionally, many bills seek to increase the number of school counselors. That way, schools can intervene and offer students the help they need before a tragedy occurs.

School violence bills also address the question of guns in schools. For instance, several bills discuss firearms on school property. Other bills look to determine who is allowed to carry guns. Lawmakers in 2019 seek to define what qualifications schools, teachers and security officers need in order to have guns in school. Therefore, state governments, districts, schools and school boards also plan to discuss and decide who has the authority to allow weapons.


Text by Annika Bastian


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