The New Jersey School Boards Association held a virtual forum, “School Security: Where Do We Go from Here?” on June 13 in response to continuing violence at schools, including the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers.
Hundreds of people attended the forum, which remains available for on-demand viewing. During the forum, there was some discussion about what type of training school districts are required to provide.
What safety and security training are public school districts and nonpublic schools required to provide and to whom?
School districts are reminded that pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:41-7, all local boards of education and chief school administrators of nonpublic schools must ensure that the following safety and security training is provided to the specified groups.
- All full-time employees in the district or nonpublic school.
- Training on school safety and security, including instruction on school security drills pursuant to NJ.S.A. 18A:41-1.
- Security drill training shall use the drill guide and training materials prepared pursuant to N.J.S.A. App.A:9-86 and available at School Security Drill Guide (nj.gov). This training shall include various formats such as drills, functional exercises and tabletop exercises.
- The annual training shall be conducted collaboratively by the district or nonpublic school and emergency responders, including law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services personnel.
- The collaboration should include the identification of weaknesses in school safety and security policies and procedures and should increase the effectiveness of the emergency responders.
- Individuals employed by the local board of education or the nonpublic school in a substitute capacity.
- Must be provided with information and training on the district’s or nonpublic schools’ practices and procedures on school safety and security, including instruction on school security drills, evacuation procedures and emergency response protocols in the school district or nonpublic school as well as the school building where the substitute employee is employed.
- If this individual is employed when the annual training for full-time employees is being conducted, this individual should be included in the training.
- Persons who supervise youth programs that are not sponsored by the school district or nonpublic school but operate a program in a district or nonpublic school building before or after school hours, on the weekend, or during a period when school is in session.
- Must be provided with information on school district or nonpublic school practices and procedures in the event of a school safety or security incident at a school, including nonconfidential information on evacuation procedures, emergency response protocols and emergency contact information.
- It the responsibility of the organization that sponsors the youth program to train the program’s employees and volunteers on school security and emergency procedures in effect in the school building in which the youth program is located.
- The youth program must file a statement of assurance with the district superintendent or CSA on the nonpublic school that it has complied with the above training requirements prior to receiving authorization to use the school building. The statement of assurance shall be developed by the commissioner of education and filed with the school district or nonpublic school annually.
If districts have any questions, they should reach out to district school security personnel; local law enforcement/first responders; the DOE’s Office of School Security and Emergency Planning; or their board attorney for additional information.
NJDOE School Safety Center:
NJDOE School Security Drill Guide
School Security Drill Guide (nj.gov)
School Safety and Security Regulation:
SUBCHAPTER 5. SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY (nj.gov)
DOE School Safety Planning: