Padden school-safety bill passes Senate

Today the Senate voted unanimously to pass Senate Bill 6410, concerning school safety. Under the measure, sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, first-responders would be required to notify both public and private schools during any situation in their vicinity that would warrant an evacuation or lockdown. The bill would also create two school safety centers – one in eastern Washington and one in western Washington.

“I’m pleased to see my colleagues unanimously support this common-sense bill to better protect all of our students,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “Many times schools have to call law enforcement for information about emergencies when it should be the other way around.

“This bill would help increase safety in all schools, public and private, and it takes a proactive approach by requiring law enforcement to notify schools in these sometimes critical situations.”

The two regional school-safety centers that would be created under SB 6410 would provide assistance and resources related to behavioral health, threat assessment and suicide prevention. In addition, the bill would permit private schools to contract with the regional school-safety centers for those services.

The bill received the support of Joe Sprague, executive director of the Washington State Catholic Conference, Sara Betnel of the Washington State PTA, Suzie Hanson of the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, and  Kevin Chase of south central Washington’s Educational Service District 105.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.