Two New York state senators are introducing legislation to create a new school safety position.
State Sen. Jake Ashby (R,C-Castleton) and Assemblyman Scott Bendett (R,C-Sand Lake) have teamed up on legislation to create a certification program for a school safety specialist position at schools across the state.
Those in the new role would be responsible for implementing and enforcing comprehensive school safety policies, developing emergency response plans, coordinating with local law enforcement, mental health providers and court systems, creating effective emergency drills and providing mentor services to vulnerable students.
“We live in a world where it’s more challenging than ever to protect our kids at school. It takes compassion and courage,” Ashby said. “It takes digital literacy and professional competency. It requires clear communication, and it means collaboration with parents, teachers, and outside officials from the healthcare, mental health, and criminal justice worlds. What we need is a professional. We want the state of New York to step up and provide guidance and real standards so that we can hire experts who are focused on one thing- keeping our students safe no matter what.”
The lawmakers stressed that while exacting requirements exist for school district business leaders, the same isn’t true for school safety. They also noted that the legislation is fleixible, and district leaders can hire one specialist to consult at multiple school buildings, hire specialists for each school or choose not to hire a certified specialist.
“We want to be crystal clear- this is not a mandate, and it’s certainly not an unfunded mandate,” said Bendett. “It’s an opportunity to set a nation-leading standard for school safety, and we believe that parents, administrators and teachers are going to see the value in that.”
If passed, Ashby and Bendett would advocate for additional funding in the state budget to help schools offset the cost of hiring school safety specialists.