OLYMPIA…Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, issued the following statement after his critical amendment strengthening legislation he helped shape that increases school-safety passed the Senate.
Amendment 612 to House Bill 1216, which passed unanimously, provides a uniform policy and a grant program for school resource officers (law enforcement officers) in our schools to help make them safer.
“The task force on school safety created from legislation I sponsored recommended more and well-trained school resource officers in across the state as an effective tool to stop potential violent threats against students and faculty. I’m very pleased that the amendment I co-sponsored passed the Senate today and has become part of the school-safety bill. The bill is made much stronger by not only offering the school resource officer program, but also by requiring comprehensive training and funding. Our kids deserve this protection.”
Should a district choose to utilize school resource officers, the training required for SROs in O’Ban’s amendment includes the following topics:
- Constitutional and civil rights of children in schools, including state law governing search and interrogation of youth in schools;
- Child and adolescent development;
- Recognizing and responding to youth mental-health issues;
- Educational rights of students with disabilities, the relationship of disability to behavior and best practices for interacting with students with disabilities;
- Collateral consequences of arrest, referral for prosecution, and court involvement;
- Resources available in the community that serve as alternatives to arrest and prosecution and pathways for youth to access services without court or criminal justice involvement;
- Local and national disparities in the use of force and arrests of children;
- De-escalation techniques when working with youth or groups of youth;
- State law regarding restraint and isolation in schools.