Active Shooter Drills Part of Proposed School Safety Bill

Active Shooter Drills Part of Proposed School Safety Bill
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Chair Richard Bennett (ctr.) Leading Education Committee Meeting
Desare Frazier

Active shooter drills are a part of a Mississippi House Bill aimed at keeping children safe at school.

Chair of the House Education Committee says it's a fact of life, children must be prepared in the event of a shooting on school grounds. Republican Richard Bennett of Long Beach says House Bill 1283 would require all schools have a drill during the first 60 days of classes.

"We're requiring drills and we're requiring schools to have a policy and to have a plan if there's an active shooter there. And yes, as said as it is, young kids need to know what to do," said Bennett.

The bill, called The Mississippi School Safety Act of 2019, is based on recommendations from the Governor's School Safety Task Force. The requirements include training to reduce stress and anxiety among students and mental health screenings. Administrators and staff would be trained in suicide prevention and every school would have a resource officer. House Democrat Gregory Holloway of Hazlehurst says training is needed. But he's concerned disadvantaged school districts may not be able to afford any added expenses.

"Training these officers. It could be a number of things that could come up in school districts that they haven't looked at at this particular point that may create some funding issues," said Holloway.

The bill passed the House Education Committee. Holloway says it's still a work in progress and there may be an appropriations bill to address his concern. The measure also includes creating an app where people can report threats anonymously. They'll be investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.