New Jersey’s K-12 School Security Task Force officially released its recommendations for making the state’s schools safer after a meeting last month with the state’s 21 county superintendents, the 21 county prosecutors and state officials.
Since its establishment last year, the task force—which includes Office of Homeland Security Director Richard L. Cañas, Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy and Attorney General Anne Milgram—has established a variety of policies, resources and recommendations that affect all New Jersey schools.
Status of Recommendations The task force’s report includes—
- In January 2007, the state Department of Education updated its School Security Manual and posted a special Web page providing resources such as regulations, school policies, training for school officials, and grants.
- The task force recommended that school districts develop local school security councils/working groups and institute procedures that include regular drills and training in school security scenarios.
- The state attorney general issued model policies in July 2007 for local law enforcement agencies responding to situations such as bomb threats and school lockdowns. Under final review are model policies for use by school districts, which would serve as a companion those law enforcement policies. Currently in development is a video that school districts will be able to use for teacher training.
- Also recommended is a revision of the uniform memorandum of agreement between education and law enforcement. This document describes responsibilities and interactions between educators and police in emergency situations affecting schools.
- The task force has proposed enhanced training for school resource officers, as well as basic training on model school security policies for all police officer candidates. The police officer training has been endorsed by the state Police Training Commission.
NJSBA Resources School officials have access to sample policies on many aspects of school security, including emergency preparedness, campus disturbances, vandalism and violence and weapons and dangerous instruments. Many topics are covered in NJSBA’s Critical Policy Reference Manual online; others are part of the electronic policy clearinghouse files.
For assistance, contact Joan Campbell of the NJSBA Legal and Policy Services Department at (888) 886-5722, ext. 5222.