AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THAT SCHOOL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS APPLY TO ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS, CLARIFY THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE CENTER FOR SAFER SCHOOLS, REQUIRE REPORTING ON THE OPERATIONAL STATUS OF ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS DURING STATES OF EMERGENCY, DEFINE THE TERM "SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER" AND REQUIRE TRAINING FOR SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS, REQUIRE ANNUAL VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS FOR EACH PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDING, REQUIRE THREAT ASSESSMENT TEAMS BE ESTABLISHED AT EACH PUBLIC SCHOOL AND CODIFY THE DUTIES OF THREAT ASSESSMENT TEAMS, REQUIRE LME/MCOS TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO STUDENTS REFERRED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT, REQUIRE LOCAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION TO REQUIRE PEER-TO-PEER SUPPORT PROGRAMS AT ALL SCHOOLS WITH GRADES SIX AND HIGHER, AUTHORIZE THE TRANSFER OF UNENCUMBERED FUNDS PROVIDED FOR THE ANONYMOUS SAFETY TIP LINE APPLICATION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF A DIGITAL PANIC ALARM APPLICATION, AND PROVIDE FOR TRAUMA KITS IN SCHOOLS.
House committee substitute deletes the provisions of the 2nd edition and instead provides the following.
Part I. Requirements for School Safety for All Public Schools
Codifies the existing statutes of Article 8C of GS Chapter 115C into two Parts. Codifies GS 115C-105.46 (State Board of Education responsibilities), GS 115C-47A (Proposals to establish alternative learning programs or alternative schools), and GS 115C-105.48 (Placement of students in alternative learning schools/alternative learning programs) into Part 1, titled Local Plans for Alternative Schools/Alternative Learning Programs, and the remaining sections of Article 8C into Part 2, Maintaining Safe and Orderly Schools.
Amends GS 115C-105.49(a) and (d), GS 115C-105.49A(b), GS 115C-105.52, GS 115C-105.53(a) and (b), and GS 115C-105.54(a) to refer to "public school unit" rather than "local school administrative unit."
Further amends GS 115C-105.49, adding a new requirement for each public school unit to report the date and time the full school-wide tabletop exercise and drill (drill) is conducted to the Center for Safer Schools (Center).
Further amends GS 115C-105.49A, additionally requiring the Division of Emergency Management (Division) to leverage the schematic diagrams of participating nonpublic schools' facilities in constructing the School Risk and Response Management System (SRRMS) (currently, only includes public school units). Makes conforming changes to GS 115C-105.53(b).
Repeals specified subsections of GS 115C-218.75 (concerning charter schools), GS 115C-238.66 (concerning regional schools), and GS 115C-239.8 (concerning laboratory schools) regarding respective School Risk Management Plans (SRMPs), school safety exercises, and school safety information reported to the Division. Instead, enacts a new subsection to each statute requiring charter schools, regional schools, and laboratory schools to comply with the applicable requirements of Part 2 of Article 8C, as amended. Similarly, makes the same requirements applicable to innovative schools and the North Carolina School of Math and Sciences, adding to GS 115C-75.9 and GS 116-235, respectively. Enacts GS 115C-150.16 and GS 116-69.2, adding the same requirements to schools for students with visual and hearing impairments and the North Carolina School of the Arts, respectively.
Amends GS 115C-551 to more specifically refer to private church schools or schools of religious charter regarding voluntary participation in State programs. Adds a new section encouraging all private church schools and all schools of religious charter to adopt an SRMP in coordination with local law enforcement, provide schematic diagrams and main entrance keys to local law enforcement agencies (in addition to implementing companion provisions in GS 115C-105.52), at least annually hold a full school-wide lockdown exercise, and provide specified safety information to the Division. Amends GS 115C-559 to more specifically refer to qualified nonpublic schools regarding voluntary participation in State programs. Adds a new section encouraging the same school safety protocols as those added to GS 115C-551, above.
Applicable beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
Part II. Clarify the Powers and Duties of the Center for Safer Schools
Amends GS 115C-105.57, which establishes the Center and provides for its operation. Current law generally grants the Center all powers and duties provided for in Article 8C of GS Chapter 115C. Enumerates 10 specific duties of the Center, including (1) serving as a resource and referral center for the State in conducting research, sponsoring workshops, and providing information regarding current school safety concerns; (2) providing training and professional development for public school personnel in the development and implementation of initiatives promoting school safety; (3) recommending a system of accountability to the legislature to document required school safety exercises; and (4) coordinating grants for school resource officers in elementary and middle schools and ensuring that training requirements for school resource officers funded by those grants are met. Further amends the statute, explicitly charging the Center with the duty to coordinate, collaborate, and seek necessary information from eight State and local government agencies, enumerated by the statute. Adds a new subsection, requiring the Center to receive guidance and advice from the Task Force for Safer Schools. Makes technical changes.
Part III. State of Emergency Operational Status Reporting
Enacts GS 115C-105.50 in Article 8C, requiring each public school unit in the county under a state of emergency to report the operational status of all schools in the unit's jurisdiction to the local board of county commissioners or designee as long as the countywide state of emergency, as defined, is in place.
Applies beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
Part IV. School Resource Officer Defined/Training Standards/Reports
Enacts GS 115C-105.70, defining a school safety resource officer as a law enforcement officer who is assigned to one or more public schools within a public school unit for at least 20 hours per week to assist with school security, safety, emergency preparedness, emergency response, or any other responsibility related to school safety or security assigned by the officer's employer while acting as a school resource officer, consistent with any written memorandum of understanding between the public school unit and the law enforcement agency governing the school resource officer. Requires school safety resource officers to complete initial training before service and to comply with any continuing training requirements established by the officer’s certifying commission. Directs the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the NC Sheriff’s Education and Training Commission (the Commissions) to collaborate with the Center for Safer Schools and the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish initial training and continuing education standards for school safety resource officers. Requires the standards to minimally include training on mental health, students with disabilities, racial equity, and crisis intervention and de-escalation. Applies to school safety resource officers employed beginning with the 2020-21 school year.
Amends GS 17C-6(a) and GS 17E-4(a), concerning the power of the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the NC Sheriff’s Education and Training Commission, respectively, to make conforming changes authorizing the Commissions to establish initial training and continuing education training standards for school safety resource officers pursuant to new GS 115C-105.70.
Requires the Commissions to collaborate with the Center for Safer Schools and the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse and establish the initial training standards for school safety resource officers no later than January 15, 2020.
Enacts GS 115C-105.71, establishing annual reporting requirements for public school units to the Center regarding school resource officers, with the first report due by September 15, 2019. Requires the Center to annually submit to the specified NCGA committee, with the first report by November 15, 2019, an executive summary and disaggregated data for each public school unit regarding the information reported by the units to the Center.
Part V. School Building Vulnerability Assessment
Enacts GS 115C-105.52A, directing each governing body of a public school unit to require each school under its control to complete a facility vulnerability assessment for each school building at least once annually. Directs the Center to develop a facility vulnerability assessment tool in collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction, Division of Safe and Healthy Schools Support (Division), to be used by administrative units in their annual assessment. Specifies that the tool is to be in the form of a checklist designed to access the potential vulnerabilities arising from day-to-day policies and procedures in the operation of school buildings. Establishes civil immunity for the governing body of a public school unit, its members, employees, designees, agents, and volunteers for acts related to participation in or implementation of a facility vulnerability assessment, less acts of gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing. Clarifies that the act does not create any specific duty of care or standard of care. Requires the Center for Safer Schools and the Division to develop the assessment tool by January 15, 2020. Requires each governing body to require each school to complete a facility vulnerability assessment for each school building before the end of the 2019-20 school year and annually thereafter.
Amends GS 115C-105.49A, as amended in Part 1 of the act, mandating the SRRMS, constructed by the Division, integrate any facility vulnerability assessments as part of an SRMP pursuant to new GS 115C-105.52A where technically feasible.
Makes conforming changes to the act's titles.
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