The Minnesota House Republicans provided this legislative report, as of early April 2018:
On March 29, house Republicans unveiled a legislative package aimed at putting student safety first. Using a multifaceted approach, it 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.
As reported by Brian Bakst of Minnesota Public Radio, “consensus is forming around a sizable boost in funding that Minnesota schools could use to shore up security, with House Republicans announcing Thursday they hope to devote $50 million to that effort."
Rep. Dario Anselmo, R-Edina, pictured above right, is the author of one bill in this package. Anselmo’s bill would provide suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress.
A companion bill, submitted by Rep. Jenifer Loon, R- Eden Prairie, funds school building security upgrades. It allows expanded use of Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systems
In addition, the following solutions are currently advancing through the public committee process:
• 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 authored by Reps. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing and Anna Wills, R-Rosemount.
• School-linked mental health programming to ensure better outcomes for all kids authored by Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley.
• Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies authored by Reps. Randy Jessup, R-Shoreview and Drew Christensen, R-Savage.
• School-based threat assessment teams established to assess, intervene, and report threats facing students, teachers, and staff authored by Rep. Keith Franke, R-St. Paul Park.
If you remember one thing: We are here for our children. By partnering with our local communities, we can address their unique needs, whether a school lacks an on-site police officer or a child asks for help with mental health issues. Our comprehensive proposal enhances school security, addresses student mental health, and provides our districts with needed resources and flexibility to keep our kids safe.