Bipartisan School Safety Bill Clears First Committee

(March 18) – A bill to add school resource officers to the list of community partners in the Colorado Safe Schools Act passed the House Education Committee by a vote of 12 to one.

SB13-138, sponsored in the House by Reps. Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) and Mike McLachlan (D-Durango), defines several responsibilities related to school resource officers, including them as community partners and allowing school districts to consult with all community partners in adopting and implementing their safe school plans.

“School resource officers help create safe learning environments and respond to any safety threats within the school,” Rep. McLachlan said. “Nothing can be prioritized above the safety of Colorado children.”

The bill requires that school resource officers (SROs) be familiar with the School Response Framework, All-Hazard Exercise program and strategic safety communications. It also requires that each school’s School Response Framework include the responsibilities of the SRO. It will direct the School Safety Resource Center within the Department of Public Safety to contract or hire an emergency response consultant to provide guidance to schools, SROs and community partners to perform several SRO-related duties.

“This is about ensuring our kids are safe when they go to school to learn,” Rep. Garcia said. “School resource officers bring school safety and public safety in coordination and including them in safety plans is crucial.”

People from law enforcement and education testified in support of the legislation, including representatives from the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, County Sheriffs of Colorado, Colorado Fraternal Order of Policy, former head of security at Boulder Valley School District and the Director of Student Services of School District 70.

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