Following the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February, at least 10 U.S. states have introduced measures to increase funding for hardening school buildings and campuses, adding resource officers and increasing mental health services, according to Reuters. Many of the proposals outlined the need for bulletproof windows, panic buttons and armored shelters in classrooms; others called for state police or sheriff’s departments to provide officers to patrol schools.
More than 100 legislative bills to address school safety have been introduced in 27 states since the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Some states are finding budgets for these initiatives by dipping into other funding or borrowing through bonds programs.
Some school districts are striking off on their own to find additional funding for security improvements instead of waiting for federal or state legislative measures.
For example, the Plano, Texas, ISD board of trustees approved a $2.7 million expenditure to update the Dallas-Fort Worth area schools’ video surveillance systems over the next year and a half.
According to Community Impact Newspaper, there are also plans to install new public-address systems over the summer in senior high schools as part of the effort to reevaluate the facilities’ security technology. The funds for the surveillance update come from a combination of bonds and operating funds, and the update comes after the Plano City Council passed an expenditure in late March that would help fund the addition of 15 new school resource officers in Plano campuses.
Aside from providing security in schools, the SROs will advise on school-related traffic safety and crime prevention, providing counselling to students and participating in parent conferences.