A group of Senators in Georgia have filed legislation to amend school safety laws and regulations in Georgia to include private school institutions.
Senator John Albers, a Roswell Republican, is the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 15 filed on Tuesday, and is joined by Senators Jeff Mullis, Mike Dugan, Butch Miller, Steve Gooch, and PK Martin in the effort. The bill has not yet been assigned a committee.
Senate Bill 15, dubbed the “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act,” would effectively require
private schools to create and conduct a “threat assessment” by the next school year, if passed, and maintain the program every two years. A threat assessment is defined as “an evaluation for responding to, or preventing or reducing, the threat of violence, mass casualty incidents and other acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and hazardous materials or radiological accidents.” Public schools in Georgia are already required to do this but there is no requirement of private schools.
The bill defines private schools as institutions that teach kindergarten through twelfth grade, or any combination of the grades and is ‘nonpublic’ and requires the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMHSA) to maintain a list of the private schools and their assessment records.
SB 15 amends OCGA 20-2-1185 and would add additional requirements to the existing public school threat assessment requirements and then impose the collective list on private schools as well. The additions would include:
- Preparation for security issues involving school functions held during noninstructional hours
- Addressing security issues involving the transportation of pupils to and from school and school functions when such transportation is furnished by the school or school system
- Requires annual drills with students, teachers, and other school personnel for responses to fire, weather, acts of violence, and acts of terrorism at least once a year
The bill also creates an additional layer of government by creating a task force charged sharing and providing homeland security activity on private and public school data and it allows the task force to create individual profiles on students for the purpose of analyzing threats.
Additionally, the GEMHSA would be charged with creating a training program for ‘school safety coaches’ in public and private schools and then would be responsible for the training of said coaches. The bill would grant a a homestead exemption from all ad valorem taxation for school purposes in the amount of the full value of the property.
You can read the bill below. [If you’re reading on a mobile device or having trouble loading the PDF, click here to read the bill.]
Lawmakers have until the 28th legislative day of session to pass legislation out of their respective chambers and on to the opposite legislative body in order for the bill to have an opportunity to become law this year. The legislative calendar has not yet been set.SB 15_2019