House lawmakers pass school safety bill, legislation headed to Senate

Politics
school classroom

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) —  The House of Representatives has unanimously approved legislation that would create threat assessment teams in schools that sponsors say would help identify potentially threatening behavior.  

School districts would also be required to adopt policies for assessment and intervention, including procedures for referrals to community services or health care providers for evaluation.

The bill sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello was proposed on behalf of the School Safety Committee, a panel led by the State Police to develop a statewide policy for school safety.

Its development was a direct response to the school shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year, according to Mattiello.

“So many times after a tragedy, members of the school community say there were so many warning signs from the eventual perpetrator of the violence. Then people are puzzled about how those signs could possibly be missed, to such devastating effect,” Mattiello said. 

At a hearing last month, the ACLU of Rhode Island raised concerns about the bill and suggested adding language about notifying parents of children identified as a threat and how potentially damaging information would be destroyed following a threat assessment.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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