Connor Decker and Josh Morrill
Burlington, VT – Vermont’s Governor has given the final approval on a bill that will help protect Vermont’s future, and ensure safety is a top priority in every school in the state. After an emotional debate this Legislative Session, a bill was signed by the Governor earlier this week that will enhance and require all schools to prioritize school safety. The law will mandate state-developed solutions. Like new options-based safety drills, locking all school doors, and proactive mental assessments.
Educators will also submit data to the Agency of Education if schools use behavioral threat assessment teams, and law enforcement officers to de-escalate situations. Some Superintendents say they have been implementing portions of these procedures in recent years, and have even utilized law enforcement in some situations. The Superintendents say the bill will help the state patch holes in their student protection plans. Slate Valley Superintendent, Brooke Olsen-Farrell, says her school district fully supports the changes. “There was an absolute sense of urgency in our district. it has been relatively easy to garner support.” Caledonia Central Superintendent, Mike Tucker adds he is pleased to see a partnership with law enforcement and educators in his district. “We can’t do it all…and the state police are good partners. they have embedded mental health counselors.”
Scott says he is confident the mandated procedures will be net positive. But adds he’s worried that some of the schools might not have the staff for a full implementation, even with state support.