|(DES MOINES) — Iowa House Republicans have released two bills to address school safety.
House Study Bill 692 focuses on infrastructure. The bill includes a number of policies such as:
- Schools are required to complete a comprehensive review of their school safety and emergency response plans and submit this review to law enforcement before the 2024-2025 school year.
- Creates a fund to install radios capable of accessing the Statewide Interoperable Communications System in all school buildings that don’t currently have them.
- This radio system helped law enforcement coordinate their response to the shooting at Perry High School.
- Implement firearm detection software in three schools of different sizes through a pilot program.
- Establishes a task force to create recommended school safety standards in building code.
- Beginning in 2026, schools would be required to meet these school safety standards before using any SAVE funds on athletic facility projects.
Representatives Cater Nordman (R-Panora) and David Young (R-Van Meter) worked to develop this legislation.
“The tragic events in Perry brought school safety to the forefront of this legislative session,” said Nordman. “The heartbreak I saw throughout the Perry community serves as my motivation to work hard to craft effective legislation to keep our students and staff safe in school. I believe this bill will have a real impact on school safety and I am determined to see it cross the finish line.”
“This is common-sense legislation we can take action on to help increase school safety,” said Young. “Our kids and teachers deserve the gold standard when it comes to safety in our schools. Right now these school safety building standards do not exist. But we can fix this and give our students, staff, and parents the safety they deserve.”
House Study Bill 675 focuses on personnel able and ready to protect students in the event of an emergency. Policies in this bill include:
- Schools with enrollment over 8,000 students shall employ at least one school resource officer or private security officer. This bill also creates a grant program to match funds to help schools fund these positions.
- Creates a new permit that allows a school employee to carry weapons. The requirements for this permit are strictly prescribed and extensive.
- This course must include one-time, in-person legal training and annual medical training and communication training.
- The Department of Public Safety shall implement a required, annual live scenario training and quarterly live firearm training for permitted school employees.
Chair of the Public Safety Committee Phil Thompson (R-Boone) has taken the lead on this piece of legislation.
“The fastest way to respond to a school shooting is to have armed personnel on site, trained and available to respond at a moment’s notice,” Thompson said. “With this bill, we create a new permit with a strict training regimen that will result in more men and women in school buildings ready to respond to keep students safe. I’m proud of the work we’ve put in to find real solutions that will make our schools safer and looking forward to leading this legislation through the Iowa House.”
HSB 692 is currently in the Appropriations committee. HSB 675 is in the Public Safety committee and has a subcommittee scheduled for Monday at 12:30 PM.