Bill Summary for S 5 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Jul 15 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 5 (Public) Filed Wednesday, January 30, 2019
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.
Intro. by Brown, Harrington, Krawiec.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 3rd edition makes the following changes.

Part I. Requirements for School Safety For All Public Schools

Makes technical changes to proposed GS 115C-75.9(h1).

Part II. Clarify the Powers and Duties of the Center for Safer Schools

Makes technical changes to proposed GS 115C-105.57(c)(3).

Part III. State of Emergency Operational Status Reporting

Expands proposed GS 115C-105.50, 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 Department of Public Safety (DPS), Division of Emergency Management and the local emergency management agency of that county, in addition to the local board of county commissioners or designee, as long as the countywide state of emergency is in place.

Part IV. School Resource Officer Defined/Training Standards/Reports

Modifies new 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 for more than 12 weeks per calendar year to assist with previously specified responsibilities related to school safety and security (previously, did not specify that the minimum hour requirement must be met for more than 12 weeks per calendar year).  Now requires school safety resource officers to comply with initial training standards within one year of assignment (was, before service). Changes the applicability provisions to now specify that new GS 115C-105.70 applies to school resource officers assigned on or after January 1, 2020 (previously, applied to school safety resource officers employed beginning with the 2020-21 school year), and requires all school resource officers assigned on January 1, 2020, to complete the initial training no later than December 31, 2020.

Part V. School Building Vulnerability Assessment

Modifies new GS 115C-105.52A, directing the Center for Safer Schools (Center) to collaborate with DPS, in addition to the Division of School Operations, to develop a facility vulnerability assessment tool.

Adds new Part VI. Threat Assessment Teams.

Enacts GS 115C-105.60 in Article 8C. Sets forth defined terms. Requires public school units to adopt, at a minimum, the policies for establishing threat assessment teams consistent with the model policies developed by the Center pursuant to GS 115C-105.57(c). Defines threat assessment team to mean a team that includes persons with expertise in counseling, instruction, school administration, and law enforcement that conducts threat assessments in a public school unit when a threat has been communicated. Requires the policies to include the conduct of threat assessments and intervention with individuals whose behavior may pose a risk to the safety of school staff or students; prohibits the policies from including information that is not public record under state law. Permits superintendents or their designees to establish a committee charged with coordination and monitoring of the threat assessment teams, or charge an existing committee. Mandates that each school in the public school unit have a threat assessment team established by the superintendent. Grants the superintendent discretion in establishing a threat assessment team that can serve more than one school in the unit. Details five duties of threat assessment teams, including conducting threat assessments when a threat has been communicated to determine appropriate actions and intervention based on the level of risk determined by the assessment, ranging from low risk to imminent risk, as described, permitting consultation with the State Bureau of Investigation as needed. Sets out the practice for the threat assessment team to immediately notify the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee upon a determination that an individual poses a high risk or imminent risk of violence or physical harm to self or others (as described), and details the required response(s) of the superintendent or the designee upon such report, including immediate attempts to notify the student’s parent or legal guardian. Clarifies that public school personnel are not precluded from acting immediately to address an imminent risk. Details reporting responsibilities when the threat assessment team recommends that the student be referred to mental health services, including notification of the student's parent or legal guardian that with their consent, if the student is uninsured or is covered by Medicaid and not enrolled in a prepaid health plan, then the superintendent or designee must make a referral that includes the parent or legal guardian's information to the local management entity/managed care organization (LME/MCO) that serves the catchment area where the student resides. Establishes reporting requirements for each threat assessment team established to the Center. Provides for attainment of health records and criminal records upon a determination by the threat assessment team that an individual poses an imminent risk. Provides for confidentiality of records obtained, only allowing release in connection with an emergency under the standards of the federal Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act. Establishes civil immunity for the governing body of a public school unit, its members, employees, designees, agents, and volunteers for acts or omissions relating to the participation in or implementation of any component of the required threat assessment team policies, less acts amounting to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing. Directs all public school units to establish policies and threat assessment teams no later than March 1, 2020.

Enacts GS 143B-931.1, authorizing the Department of Public Safety to provide criminal record checks to members of a threat assessment team pursuant to GS 115C-105.76. Reiterates confidentiality requirements of threat assessment team members.

Amends GS 115C-47 to require local boards of education to require peer-to-peer student support programs be established at all school with grades six and higher, and to encourage local boards to implement the support programs as appropriate in other grades. Amends GS 115C-316.1 to require school counselors to coordinate and provide training for students in peer-to-peer student support programs that address conflict resolution, general health and wellness, and mentoring. Provides that the Center will support school counselors in the administration and delivery of these support programs. Applies beginning with the 2020-21 school year; encourages local boards to have peer-to-peer student support programs by the 2019-20 school year. 

Amends GS 115C-105.57, as amended, adding the development of policies for threat assessment teams to the duties of the Center. Details the policies' minimum requirements, including involvement of the student's parent or legal guardian throughout the threat assessment process and referral to LME/MCOs for evaluation or treatment, when appropriate. Requires the policies to be developed by the Center by December 31, 2019.

Amends GS 122C-115.4 to require LME/MCOs to receive referrals from school superintendents or their designees related to students who are uninsured or are covered by Medicaid and not enrolled in a prepaid health plan residing in that LME/MCO's catchment area, pursuant to new GS 115C-105.60, and within 10 calendar days, contact the student's parent or legal guardian and provide assistance with identifying appropriate existing mental health resources available to the student, including identifying financial assistance. 

Applicable beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

Makes conforming changes to the act's long title.

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