ST. PAUL – House Republicans unveiled a legislative package Thursday aimed at putting student safety first. Legislators’ multifaceted approach includes more resources to meet the needs of students and schools statewide.
This allows for hiring more school resource officers, student counselors and mental health professionals in addition to making critical building security upgrades. In total, House Republicans are proposing approximately $50 million for mental health and school safety funding, double the amount proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
“Mental health and building security are two of the most important components as we work to improve school safety,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “I am glad to see legislation is moving through the House to help carry us forward as we work to keep our children safe. It also is important to provide some latitude at the local level so citizens can make decision which best fit their needs and these bills allow that to happen.”
The following solutions, authored by numerous House Republican members, are currently advancing through the public committee process, and will be included in the larger proposal:
- School resource officers, student support personnel, and other school security programs funded through increased Safe Schools revenue, including a floor level of funding for small schools.
- School building security upgrades, and expanded use of Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systems.
- School-linked mental health programming to ensure better outcomes for all kids.
- Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies.
- Suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress.
- School-based threat assessment teams established to assess, intervene, and report threats facing students, teachers, and staff.
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