School safety is on everybody's mind, especially after the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT, which was deemed the worst school shooting in recent U.S. history.
Last Tuesday, the Rhode Island Senate passed two bills aimed at improving school safety.
The first bill, 2013-S 0800A, introduced by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), directs the Commissioner for Elementary and Secondary Education to certify annually that all school safety plans and school emergency response plans have been reviewed and updated as appropriate.
The second bill, 2013-S 0801A, sponsored by Senator Gallo, requires all schools to perform a school safety assessment in conjunction with local police, fire and school safety teams within 30 days of passage of the legislation and every three years thereafter.
“We can never be complacent about the safety of children and employees in schools around the state,” said Gallo.
However, the bills also make school safety assessment and school safety plans exempt from public records law and all meetings of the schools safety team are not subject to open meetings law.
On one hand, making safety plans exempt from the public prevents potential criminals from knowing plans.
On the other hand, making the safety plans private prevents the public and parents from reviewing these plans and providing input on them.
We want to know what you think. Should school safety plans be made public? Tell us in the comment section below!