School safety reform has been a concern on lawmakers and Mississippi residents alike after the increase in mass shootings over the last few years. This bill would use existing staff and resources under the School Safety Grant program.
The bill, SB 2027 was authored by Senator Blackwell, would allow for each school district to develop a safety plan and when finances are available provide specific preventative services like metal detectors and surveillance cameras etc.
The bill reads:
The school board of each school district, with the assistance of the State Department of Education School Safety Center, shall adopt a comprehensive local school district school safety plan and shall update the plan on an annual basis.
One of the largest additions to the bill would change the definition of “school resource officers” to allow them to be assigned to make a safer environment for students and staff.
The bill continues:
(a) For purposes of this subsection (4), “School Resource Officers” shall mean sworn law enforcement officers responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools, who are employed by a local police department or sheriff’s department and assigned to local school administrators to create a safer environment for both students and staff. School Resource Officers have the power to make arrests, respond to calls for service and document incidents, and may have additional duties, including mentoring and conducting presentations on youth-related issues. School Resource Officers shall have at least forty (40) hours of specialized training in school policing before being assigned by the local law enforcement agency.
The districts would apply for the grant finances yearly in order to create and push their safety program. The bill was referred to the Education and Appropriations Committees.