The NJSBA Board of Directors on Friday voted to submit a resolution to the May 19 Delegate Assembly that would expand the Association’s policies on school security and related issues.
The purpose of the policy is to enable NJSBA to address proposed laws and regulations concerning access to firearms and effective mental health services as they impact student safety. It also addresses state and federal financial support for school security.
The proposed policy reads as follows:
The NJSBA believes that ensuring the safety of our students requires meaningful and uniform laws governing access to firearms including stringent background checks throughout the nation; inter-agency collaboration to ensure the effective delivery of mental health services and early intervention strategies; and state and federal financial support for security enhancements at the local school district level.
It will be reviewed by the Association’s Resolutions Subcommittee, which is scheduled to meet on April 14. At that meeting, the subcommittee will make recommendations on all of the resolutions submitted to the May 19 Delegate Assembly. At least two school boards have also proposed resolutions on school security.
Security Study President Dan Sinclair and Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod have appointed a committee to review and, if necessary, update the Association’s 2014 school security study, What Makes Schools Safe? The new committee will hold its first meeting on March 27.
The report resulted from a year-long study by an Association task force. It contains 45 recommendations, which are still germane. Topics include building access, relations with law enforcement, security personnel, building alterations, training, and emergency planning and response procedures.
Student Walk-OutGuidance Document In advance of the March 14 student walk-outs in support of stronger gun control measures, NJSBA issued a guidance document for school districts. The document provided balanced information from NJSBA and other sources on student safety, alternative education events, staff assignments, the rights of non-participating students, communication with parents and students, and other topics.
Sample Board Resolution At the request of local boards of education that want to advocate on firearms access and other security-related matters, NJSBA has developed a sample resolution. A number of school boards have adopted resolutions based on the sample.
Upcoming Programs NJSBA and county school boards associations have scheduled programming on school security. NJSBA’s annual School Security Conference will take place on June 1. In response to their members’ concerns about student safety following the Parkland tragedy, a number of county associations changed the topics of upcoming meetings, inviting law enforcement and school administrators to speak on security matters.
Security-focused county meetings will take place in Morris County on March 28 and in Warren on April 11. The Mercer County association planned a meeting on security and the Ocean County association addressed the topic earlier this month.