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This week, Governor Reynolds announced plans to create a School Safety Bureau headed by the Department of Public Safety and Department of Education. The Bureau will provide resources and work closely with Iowa’s school districts and law enforcement to keep students, faculty and staff safe.

House Republicans appreciate the Governor’s attention to this important issue and look forward to continue working with her to address the many needs schools have to improve safety.

This will not be the first step House Republicans have taken to address school safety needs. During previous sessions, we have worked hard to make school safety a priority. Here are just a few examples of legislation that House Republicans have passed to address safety needs in our schools:

Resources for security updates
In 2019, the Legislature passed an extension of the SAVE penny that is used for school infrastructure and property tax relief. As part of that legislation, House Republicans fought to ensure that school boards and administrators are able to use these resources for school safety measures and prioritizes upgrades like secure entrances, security cameras, and other safety enhancements.

Emergency Plans
In 2018, the Legislature passed legislation requiring schools to develop emergency response plans in coordination with local law enforcement. While most schools already had a strategy in place, some schools lacked a high-quality plan. This legislation also required teachers to go through active shooter training once a year so that if a situation ever arose, schools and staff are as prepared as possible to respond to the threat.

Over the last several sessions, House Republicans have championed efforts to provide school districts with unprecedented flexibility over the funding they receive from the state. As part of these efforts, House Republicans made it easier for schools to direct more resources towards hiring school security personnel. With greater flexibility, school boards now have the ability to address their own unique safety and security challenges in a way that best meets their district’s needs. safety and security challenges in a way that best meets their district’s needs.

Teacher misconduct
In 2019, House Republicans also passed legislation that protects students from known predators in schools who move undetected from district to district by requiring administrators to report employee misconduct in a timely way.

House Republicans recognize that there is still work to be done and will continue to look for opportunities this session to ensure the safety of Iowa’s students, faculty, and staff while at school.

Author: Matt Windschitl