Efforts underway to prepare for new school safety law

Published: May. 2, 2019 at 4:39 PM EDT
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School safety reforms were the number one priority for many Kentucky lawmakers this past legislative session.

Now efforts are underway to help school districts across the state plan for the implementation of the Senate Bill One, the School Safety and Resiliency Act. Kentucky schools will have to implement a new list of requirements mandated by the bill by July 2022.

Part of the bill’s approach to increasing safety includes making actual school buildings stronger. One requirement is that schools’ main entrances be fitted with an electric locking system complete with intercom and camera.

“We know many schools already have that, we know many do not,” said Eric Kennedy of the Kentucky School Boards Association.

This impact on school facilities is what the Kentucky School Boards Association is choosing to tackle first. KSBA officials recently sent out surveys to Kentucky school districts asking them to assess their facilities, so they know what to advocate for in terms of state funding next legislative session.

Kentucky lawmakers and Governor Matt Bevin have said that they are committed to finding the money in the state budget to make everything possible. Some education advocates say that they are still worried their school districts will be stuck with bill.

Below are the new requirements for schools as a part of the law, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association. The schools have to have these measures in place by July 2022.

1. Controlling outside access to exterior doors during the school day;

2. Controlling the main entrance of the school with electronically locking doors, a camera, and an intercom system;

3. Controlling access to individual classrooms;

4. Requiring classroom doors to be equipped with hardware that allows the door to be locked (from the outside) but opened from the inside;

5. Requiring classroom doors to remain closed and locked during instructional time;

6. Requiring classroom doors with windows to be equipped with material to quickly cover the window during a building lockdown;

7. Requiring all visitors to report to the front office of the building, provide valid identification, and state the purpose of the visit; and

8. Providing a visitor’s badge to be visibly displayed on a visitor’s outer garment.

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