Tennessee Governor Signs Bill to Bolster School Security

The new Tennessee law allocates $230 million in funding for school safety improvements, including the addition of an SRO to each campus.

Nashville, Tennessee – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed legislation on Wednesday that’s intended to improve school security.

The new law:

  • Enacts a multi-tiered accountability plan to ensure exterior school doors are locked while students are present
  • Requires that private security officers receive active shooter training prior to being posted at schools
  • Requires every school district to establish threat assessment teams to ensure students are connected to support services and behavioral health professionals when appropriate
  • Requires every public and private school to develop annual safety plans, including a newly required incident command drill for school leaders and law enforcement.

The bill also provides $230 million in school safety funding for the following:

  • $30 million for 122 Homeland Security agents across all 95 counties to serve Tennesseans and students in both public and non-public schools
  • $140 million for one full-time, armed School Resource Officer (SRO) for every public school
  • $40 million for public school security upgrades
  • $14 million for private school security upgrades
  • $8 million for additional School-Based Behavioral Health Liaisons across the state

The new legislation follows March’s active shooter attack at Covenant School in Nashville that killed three 9-year-old students and three adult staff members.

Lee has called for the legislature to pass a law that would keep guns out of the hands of people who could harm themselves or others. The legislature, however, has so far ignored the governor’s request, reports the Associated Press. Lee has called for a special legislative session this summer where lawmakers could reconsider his request.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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