Tennessee schools to undergo safety, security assessment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Officials will soon be visiting each school in the state to address security needs and concerns.

Just this past week, the School Safety Working Group- which was tasked with making recommendations for keeping Tennessee schools safe after the recent school shooting in Florida – sent their report to Governor Bill Haslam. The first of several recommendations called for “a review and risk assessment of all school facilities to identify vulnerabilities”.

On Wednesday, Haslam approved the goals and ordered the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Department of Education and local officials, to begin developing and then implement an assessment.  The DOE will set the security standards and provide assessment training to local officials and first responders.

The full assessment of each school must be complete by the time students return for the 2018-2019 school year.

Further assessments will be conducted on an annual basis, the state said.

While each school has their own safety plan, the state said this is the first time it has been involved in a comprehensive effort to determine each school’s individual security needs.

The School Safety Working Group also recommend the state increase the number of school resource officers and create a statewide application where threats and suspicious activity can be reported.

Haslam said he wants this resource up and running by the end of summer break as well.

Another recommendation addressed the need for additional behavioral health training to better identify and respond to students with mental health needs.